New restrictions with more enforcement on Oahu as COVID cases surge

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Two Oahu residents are the state’s 28th and 29th death related to COVID-19. Health officials say one is an elderly woman and the other an elderly man, both with underlying medical conditions.

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This comes as the state first reported 152 new cases Thursday, 148 on Oahu, three on Maui, and one on the Big Island, bringing our statewide total since the pandemic started to 2,914

This daily uptick in numbers is prompting state and county officials to once again crack down.

Restrictions include the return of the mandatory 14-day quarantine for interisland travelers. On Oahu, Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced that all parks, beaches, and other places where large gatherings take place will be closed starting Saturday until September 4.

This time, HPD says enforcement will be key. Chief Susan Ballard says there will be a COVID Enforcement hotline to report complaints, and HPD will have what’s known as a COVID Enforcement Team to respond to those complaints.

“There will be an additional 160 officers island wide seven days a week in all of our eight districts doing strategic enforcement,” said Chief Ballard.

That’s in addition to regular patrol officers, being paid overtime with federal CARES money. Ballard says it will be different from what officers did in the past, when they first educated and warned violators.

“We’re probably gonna do very few warnings. It’s going to be either citations or arrests, so we’re just asking people to please abide by the emergency proclamation,” said Ballard.

All this is happening as the state says we are approaching a crisis in which the healthcare system could be overrun by the end of the month.

“Our strategy is to eliminate large uncontrolled gatherings that are occurring across this county both indoors and outdoors, and we all agree we need to do a better job with enforcement,” said Gov. David Ige.

“It became very clear that we need to clamp down as hard as possible on large uncontrolled gatherings,” said Mayor Caldwell.

Even with these restrictions, the state says things will get worse before they get better.

“Their impacts will probably not be seen for at least two weeks and possibly as long as four weeks. There will be more deaths and more hospitalizations in the weeks to come because of gatherings,” said Hawaii Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson.

The number for the COVID Enforcement Hotline is 723-3900 or you can email complaints to HPDcovidenforce@honolulu.gov.

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