State Rolls Out Website in Effort to Enforce Quarantine on Hawai‘i Travelers
By Friday afternoon’s press conference, the state confirmed a minor tested positive for COVID-19 bringing the statewide total to 465.
The Hawai‘i Department of Health reported two new coronavirus deaths — an elderly woman from Honolulu and an elderly man who was hospitalized at Maui Memorial Medical Center in the Chronic Care Unit. It has not yet been determined if the man’s death was connected to he cluster of cases identified at the Maui hospital earlier this week. There are now eight dead due to the virus and DOH Director Bruce Anderson anticipates more in the future.
“This is another sad day for Hawai‘i,” said Gov. David Ige during Friday afternoon’s press conference. “I would like to express our condolences to the family and friends of two more of our neighbors who have lost their lives to COVID-19.”
Anderson reported over 16,000 people have been tested. Four additional cases connected with the Maui Memorial Medical Center were announced. Three were healthcare workers, the other was a patient. This brings the total number of cases associated with the hospital to 19.
As the state enters its third weekend of the mandatory stay-at-home order, the governor acknowledged these mandates will only get harder to live by, but are necessary.
Over Easter weekend, Anderson said the DOH will continue to conduct contact-tracing, notify anyone else who may have been exposed, and supply additional personal protective equipment to hospital healthcare workers.
“I cannot stress enough to be vigilant,” Ige said. “Everyone should use a cloth mask. But it’s not a replacement for social distancing. You should be doing both.”
The state continues to look at ways to enforce the mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers coming to Hawai‘i. The returning residents and visitors are now required to register on safetravels.hawaii.gov.
On April 9, 13 flights flew into Hawaii airports, carrying 663 visitors, returning residents and crew. There were no arrivals on Kaua‘i.
On the website, the traveler will have to provide their name, itinerary and place they will be staying.
Anyone arriving at a Hawaiʻi airport, will be expected to show proof they completed their registration and provide some form of ID. After that, they’ll be expected to check-in daily during their mandatory 14-day quarantine.
While the website doesn’t recognize the GPS of the traveler, Ige said, they’re looking at a smartphone app to capture locations.
The state is also working to support local farmers who have come under pressure with the lack of business statewide, specifically those who farm leafy greens and those in need of feed for hogs. Due to Hawai‘i’s reliance on imports, Ige said, they have been working hard to increase the state’s food production and food security needs.
“Agriculture has always been a part of the fabric of our community,” Ige said. “Now, more than ever, they need our help.”
The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is currently reviewing requests for assistance under the COVID-19 Emergency Farmer Relief Program, which offers some financial assistance to qualified farmers, ranchers and producers.
Relief funds may be used to help utilize an oversupply of agricultural products resulting from the decreased demand due to closures of restaurants, schools and other businesses. Applications were accepted until March 27 and 333 proposals were received, requesting a total of more than $1.1 million. Under the emergency program, eligible applicants, including individual farming operations, may receive a maximum of $2,000.
Before the press conference concluded, Ige said, the community’s efforts to stay at home and abide by curfews is working in fighting off the spread of COVID-19.
“Our collective actions to abide by social distancing and stay-at-home order has ensured that our health care system has not been overwhelmed, as we see in so many other states,” he said. “Each and every victim of COVID-19 is heartbreaking, but our collective efforts is reducing the curve and ensuring we can survive the pandemic in the best way possible.