HONOLULU (KHON2) — 30 new cases of COVID-19 in Maui County reported Wednesday are part of an 81% rise in cases since December 22nd.

The outbreak sparked some residents to hold a protest outside of Mayor Mike Victorino’s press conference Wednesday calling on him to accept more help in the form of a COVID-19 task force.

Maui County’s Council has voted unanimously on a resolution to create the task force, which would help the administration plan mitigation strategies and emergency responses.

“I understand The Mayor has more to do than a person can do and that’s why we’re trying to offer help,” Hale Hawaii member Cara Flores said. “That’s why we would like for him to reconsider the task force that the county council proposed, because that would give them more tools in the toolbox,”

Mayor Victorino reiterated Wednesday that the task force is not needed.

“I have great advisors and our team with the faith-based community, our medical community, our business community, many others who advise me on a daily basis,” Mayor Victorino said. “Another task force to me isn’t necessary and I still believe it’s not necessary.”

The county’s battle against a surge in cases comes as it welcomes the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions on Thursday. The TOC is set to be Hawaii’s first major sports event with spectators since the pandemic began, even though capacity has been cut down by two-thirds.

Sentry TOC Executive Director Alex Urban tells KHON2 in regards to safety:

“We have worked closely with local health and government officials, as well as the PGA TOUR, to ensure a safe environment for limited ticketed guests at this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. With our guests solely in open-air, socially distanced, spaced hospitality on No. 18, we are confident that we will deliver an enjoyable experience for those in attendance while strictly adhering to mandatory PPE and social distancing on property. The Sentry Tournament of Champions is proud to work closely with community leaders as it has raised more than $7 million dollars for on-island charities since 1999.”

The Sentry TOC runs from Thursday-Friday at the Kapalua Plantation Course.