LANAI CITY, Hawaii (KHON2) — There are now 65 positive cases of COVID-19 on Lanai, according to Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino on Oct. 23.
The Department of Education also confirmed there are 15 students at Lahaina High and Elementary School Residents who tested positive for the virus.
To prevent the outbreak from getting worse, Mayor Victorino said he is issuing a stay-at-home order for Lanai. It will start on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 12:01 a.m.
The island of Lanai is bracing for lockdown as COVID-19 continues to rip through the community of roughly 2800 residents. Mayor Victorino spent his Friday on Lanai assessing the situation.
“The closure of Lanai, and Lanai only, to travel will be issued for Tuesday at midnight,” Victorino said.
The order is awaiting the governor’s approval.
“The Tuesday date allows for adequate lead time of visitors and residents to make arrangements to comply with the mandatory order which also needs to be, as mayor mentioned, approved by the governor,” said Maui County Managing Director Sandy Baz.
Baz added that the county will also restrict travel to and from the island for essential work and medical purposes.
“We are recommending that all residents and visitors to immediately shelter in place at their home and their place of lodging. Trips outside the home should be only for essential needs and everyone should be wearing a mask in public. It’s the law,” Baz explained.
Lanai County Council member Riki Hokama said that the community was already anticipating the lockdown.
“For many, there’s a fear that we’re at a place of no options already, that we need to do this, just for survival,” Hokama said.
Lanai House Representative Lynn DeCoite said that people are going into the markets and trying to stock up to prepare for the order.
In just four days, positive cases skyrocketed.
“We were notified that 65 total cases are on the island of Lanai at this point,” Mayor Victorino said.
Officials are disturbed at how quickly the virus spread. They’re doing all they can to turn the situation around. According to the Department of Health, several large social gatherings likely caused community spread.
Fifteen students from Lanai High and Elementary School also tested positive prompting the Department of Eduction to shift all students to distance learning until further notice.
Victorino said they expect the number of cases on island to continue to increase.
“There are more cases. We see ’em coming and we’re working very diligently to make sure first of all tests are being done.”
He is urging everyone to get tested on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Old Dole Administration Building. To make an appointment call the Straub Medical Center – Lanai Clinic at 808-565-6423 or the Lanai Community Health Center at 808-565-6919.
“As of 1 p.m. they had over 700 signed up,” Mayor Victorino said.
Four cleaning crews were busy disinfecting public buildings, other high-touch areas and locations known to have cases of COVID-19.
“The Four Seasons area, everything from the Pine Isle Market, where traffic has been moving through. (The sanitation crews) are running through a list of Public Works areas, Lanai Senior Center area, Park’s offices, you name it. There’s a list,” said DeCoite.
The mayor said that the cleaning crews were told that they could stay overnight to make sure everyplace that needed to be disinfected was thoroughly cleaned. Victorino spent Friday handing out PPE and talking to community members and businesses on Lanai.
Many residents are afraid. Council member Hokama said that seeing the sanitation crews did ease some of their worries.
“It bought them encouragement. It also gave them a sense of relief.”
DeCoite said it’s important that people remain calm.
“We need to continue with our sanitizing, wearing our face masks, keeping our distance. I say we pray for Lanai.”