Will Honolulu move back a tier as coronavirus cases spike?


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii has seen a jump in positive cases in the past couple of days.

The question now is, could Hawaii snap back to Tier 2?

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Honolulu saw a massive influx of visitors over spring break. There have been reports of parties and videos of large gatherings.

COVID-19 cases are up, with 122 positive cases on Thursday, March 25, and 125 on Friday, March 26.

Hawaii healthcare liaison Lt. Gov. Josh Green admitted that it is concerning because they do not like to see cases increase.

“We’re trying to see trends down,” Green explained. “On the other hand, it’s not affecting our hospitals, because we’re seeing cases among more young people, the group between 30 to 50 has gone up, but we’re seeing a serious drop off for people who are 65 and older.”

Green added that the daily average in the last week was 80, which falls under Tier 2 guidelines.

Oahu has been in Tier 3 since Thursday, Feb. 25th.

Could Hawaii revert back to Tier 2 if cases remain high?

“We’re not thinking about that,” Blangiardi said. “It would have to take something very, very extreme. We’re looking at death rates and hospitalizations and right now, we’re actually in a Tier 4 model and we’ll continue to be that way.”

He said, having the vaccine changes how they look at things.

“I’m less concerned about the case count than I would have been, lets say, three months ago,” he explained. “We think the vaccines will help us contain the most violent parts of this disease. And every day we’re averaging about 10,000 vaccinations a day and we’ll continue to go forward in our fight against this disease.”

Former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who helped develop the tier system, weighed in.

“It’s troubling. But I don’t think it’s time to say we’re going to have to be looking at stepping back,” Caldwell said. “I think it’s reminder to everybody on this island to be careful and practice these protocols even when you get vaccinated.”

He said, the situation is similar to what happened last summer after stay-at-home orders were lifted.

“It reminds me after we opened up and we saw the huge gatherings at our parks and beaches,” Caldwell explained.

Blangiardi said, there is no need to panic as it stands and he has no plans to tighten things up.

Blangiardi has made a number of adjustments to the tier system since February by allowing youth sports, reopening bars and adding weddings to the Tier 3 list.

“I knew what it meant for so many people and families,” Blangiardi said. “We’ve been talking about it for months. I also knew the financial impact on the wedding industry.”

Weddings are allowed at outdoor venues only and are limited to 100 people with seating capped at 10 per table. Food and beverage service has to comply with restaurant and bar rules. Temperature checks must be done and guest contact information collected for contact tracing purposes.

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