The state’s number of coronavirus cases rose by only five Monday. Oahu and Maui had two new cases each, with Hawaii Island logging one. That brings the overall total in the state to 504.
State officials say the numbers are promising, and could bring us closer to lifting the stay at home order. But a lot still depends on what happens through the end of the month.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green says the the days ahead are critical. And even if the state lifts the stay at home order after the end of this month, other restrictions will have to stay in place such as social distancing.
State officials point out that the number of new cases tends to be lower on Mondays because there isn’t as much testing done during the weekends. But Green says an increase of just five is a good sign, as long as we don’t see a dramatic spike in the week ahead.
“My hope is we see numbers in the teens, if we see numbers in the teens, then our curve is continuing to stay flat. If we see numbers in the 20’s and 30’s, then social distancing isn’t working as well,” he said.
Green also expressed optimism that more than half of those who have been infected have recovered.
“At the end of the day we have to make sure that people get well, 310 have recovered out of 504. And if the curve flattens significantly, then we can finally reopen the state,” said Green.
It is ultimately up to the governor and Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, the incident commander, to make the decision on lifting restrictions. Hara told the House Select Committee on COVID-19 that he is encouraged by today’s numbers. But he’s still troubled by those not following the law.
“It’s those few that do not follow that can create a huge increase and a spike and a huge cluster for us that would lead to widespread. So that is my concern as we are thinking about rolling back some of the policies. I’m gonna do a press conference and kind of hopefully shame these people, you know,” said Hara.
He adds that he’s also bothered by the number of visitors still coming to Hawaii despite the quarantine restrictions. He says the state can’t ban flights from coming in but he has another plan.
“What we’re looking at possibly, is restricting their availability with reservations with lodging. So that’s something that’s in the works, I’m working with the attorney general on that,” said Hara.