Oahu goes back on lockdown starting Thursday

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Oahu residents must once again stay at home and work from home. This as the state sees 215 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday.

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The order goes into effect Thursday, for the next two weeks. Non-essential businesses like gyms, hair and nail salons, and dine-in at restaurants must once again close.

The lockdown for Oahu is essentially the same as what we had in March, except churches can provide services. The biggest difference is there will be a massive effort to prevent another surge when we reopen.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell laid out three components for prevention. There will be 5,000 tests done each day. Up to 500 contact tracers will be hired. A Waikiki hotel will be used to quarantine those who have no place to do so.

“This is what needs to be done prior to reopening in two weeks and this is what Honolulu will be doing to make sure that when we reopen, we’re in a different position that we’re in the first time,” said Caldwell.

The tests will be free, and no insurance or referrals are needed. They’re also less invasive than what has normally been given.

“It’s not the nasal test that goes way in, it’s three-quarters of an inch into your nose and you get sufficient results. So it’s self-administered as well, so you do it yourself under the supervision of a medical professional,” said Chief Manuel Neves of the Honolulu Fire Department.

The U.S. Surgeon General is providing resources and guidance, and points out that this is a turning point for Oahu residents to comply, so the lockdown does not go beyond two weeks.

“I want you to understand that a little bit of fun right now can result in more shutdowns further on down the road. So it’s important that we all do the right things right now even if we don’t feel that we are personally at risk,” said Vice Admiral Jerome Adams.

He adds that combining the lockdown with additional testing, contact tracing, and quarantine capacity, is a good way to stop the ongoing surge in Covid cases.

“Based on what I’ve seen, there is a really good plan in place to make sure if you’re positive or if you’re a close contact, that you will have the information you need and the resources you need to do the right thing,” said Adams.

State officials acknowledge that Oahu residents are frustrated. Most have been complying. But they need to make more sacrifices to move forward.

“We know it’s gonna hurt, we know it’s gonna hurt to be home for a short time. But it’s also gonna save lives and save economic activity going forward,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

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