Coronavirus Identified in Kailua-Kona
Coronavirus has arrived in Kona.
Two presumptive positive tests for COVID-19 were identified Friday at Kona Community Hospital. Lieutenant Governor Josh Green first confirmed the story with West Hawaii Today.
Green told the paper that both cases were related to travel and did not indicate community spread. However, community spread of COVID-19 was identified in Hawai‘i for the first time earlier Friday.
In response to the announcement, made by Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson, the DLNR closed all state parks as well as all commercial ocean and trail tours.
Also earlier in the day, the Hawai‘i Island delegation within the state Legislature sent Mayor Harry Kim a letter imploring him to reverse his position and lock down the Big Island for at least two weeks, ordering people to shelter-in-place and enforcing stricter travel and quarantine restrictions.
The news that two cases have now popped up in Kona — the second and third on the Big Island and the 38th and 39th confirmed cases in the state — is likely to prompt more public and political pressure on Mayor Kim to lock the county down.
Earlier in the day, an emergency meeting of the Hawai‘i County Council saw impassioned arguments made of Kim to adjust his policy to the growing spread of COVID-19. The mayor agreed to close county beaches beginning Saturday but made no move to force businesses that attract social gathering to close down.