Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Hawai‘i Arrivals Diminish Further As Quarantine Kicks In

March 27, 2020, 1:14 PM HST
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Visitor and resident arrivals to Hawai‘i continue to push downward following the institution of a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all individuals returning to the state.

On Tuesday, roughly 4,000 people arrived in Hawai‘i by airplane, a drop of nearly 87% from the same date the previous year, according to a statement made by Gov. David Ige. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority said that on Thursday, the first day Ige’s travel quarantine took effect, the number of arrivals shrunk from 30,000 in 2019 to only 1,589 — a decline of nearly 95%.

A total of 109 people flew into Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole. Only 18 of them were visitors.

Both the local and the statewide drops are in line with predictions made by the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) Thursday.

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“Measures that have been put in place have been working,” Tim Sakahara, a spokesperson for HDOT, said Thursday. “People are not coming into the airports and visitors are canceling their trips. We expect those numbers will continue to drop off.”

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Sakahara added that many flights coming into Daniel K. Inouye Airport Thursday carried fewer than 10 people total, crew and passengers combined. Several had one passenger, or even zero passengers, onboard. Part of the reason those flights still run the routes is to allow for airplane departures from Hawai‘i’s several domestic airports, as well as its two international airports located in Honolulu and Kailua-Kona.

Gov. David Ige’s stay-at-home, work-at-home directive has now been in effect for two days. It will run until at least April 30.

Kona International Airport. PC: Goodfellow Bros.

Those affected by this order have more freedom than those under travel quarantine, who aren’t allowed to leave their places of quarantine for any reason save a medical emergency. Residents without travel history may leave their homes for activities such as grocery shopping, outdoor exercise and work responsibilities, assuming the work falls under the category of “essential” as defined by relevant state and county authorities.

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Penalties for violating either order can run from a $5,000 fine to up to one year in jail, or both. The first arrest for violation of the order was made on the Big Island and announced Thursday morning, though media outlets on O‘ahu had reported at least 70 citations and two arrests for the same violation by 6 p.m. that evening.

State and private labs in Hawai‘i had conducted more than 5,000 tests as of noon Thursday. As of noon Friday, 120 cases of coronavirus and eight hospitalizations had been confirmed across all islands. No deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported in Hawai‘i.

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