State Unveils New COVID-19 Website
Hawai‘i has launched a new website to keep the public up-to-date on developments involving the COVID-19 pandemic.
The website, hawaiicovid19.com, will go live at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The Hawai‘i Department of Health said it provides timely information and resources on the coronavirus, including guidance on how to prevent and mitigate community spread, common symptoms of COVID-19 and frequently asked questions.
Confirmed and presumptive positive cases update
As of noon Wednesday, a total of 16 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 had been detected in Hawai‘i.
New positive results were announced Wednesday for two O‘ahu residents who traveled outside Hawai‘i, according to DOH release. The department is monitoring these individuals and supervising their isolation as well as the self-quarantine of their family members, the release continued.
One of now 10 cases on O‘ahu, which was announced Monday, March 16, involved a Kualoa tour operator who had not traveled outside the state but was exposed to travelers daily. Three family members from the individual’s household were tested with negative results, DOH said.
All cases who tested positive in Hawaiʻi are travel related. There is no evidence of community spread in Hawai‘i at this time, DOH added in its release, contradicting media reports that one of the state’s cases had been the result of community spread.
Nine individuals remain under investigation for COVID-19, with their tests pending. Testing via private labs began in earnest over recent days, with hundreds of tests pending. Numbers tested and positive tests are expected to rise significantly in the coming days.
Testing qualifications are as follows:
- Confirmed: Meets CDC criteria and positive test result received from a certified laboratory such as the DOH State Laboratories Division.
- Presumptive Positive: Positive test results from a private laboratory requiring confirmation by a state public health laboratory.
- Persons Under Investigation (PUI): Meets CDC criteria for investigation and testing pending.
Individuals must be displaying symptoms and have a physician’s order to receive a test for COVID-19. Health professionals are asking the public to avoid showing up to one of the dozens of newly announced testing sites across all Hawaiian Islands, as doing so will put themselves and the community at greater risk.
To curb the spread of the virus, Gov. David Ige strongly suggested several safety measures, including non-essential business closures and a hiatus on travel to the state for 30 days.
DOH said in its release Wednesday that it is fully endorsing Ige’s directives to close establishments that typically attract large numbers of people and to limit employees in the workplace to minimize exposure. While these are not mandates with consequences for non-compliance, these directives require the cooperation of businesses, organizations and individuals to be effective from a public health perspective, DOH said.
“We can be more effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 if everyone takes these aggressive actions seriously,” said DOH Director Bruce Anderson. “The response to the governor’s directives has been positive so far and there are many, such as food establishments, which have identified alternative ways to serve the public with drive-through and take-out service to maintain their operations.”
Questions and concerns
The Aloha United Way call center is open daily between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. For information or questions about COVID-19, dial 2-1-1.