Record COVID Numbers Strike Big Island

October 9, 2020, 10:43 AM HST (Updated October 9, 2020, 10:43 AM)
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Hawai‘i County Civil Defense on Friday identified 45 new cases of coronavirus on the Big Island, the highest daily tally since officials began tracking the pandemic in late February.

The county reported that “many” of the newly identified cases are linked to active clusters, namely those at Life Care Center in Hilo and the University of Nations in Kailua-Kona.

Nine people are currently hospitalized islandwide as a result of COVID-19 infection, while the Big Island’s death toll has now hit 36, as Kona Community Hospital recently reported its first COVID-related fatality.

The Big Island’s worst day for positive coronavirus test results comes at an inopportune time, as Gov. David Ige plans to push forward on Oct. 15 with a pre-travel testing program that will bring mainland travelers back to Hawai‘i with quarantine exemptions should they pass a certified COVID test within 72 hours of travel.

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Mayors Harry Kim and Derek Kawakami — of Hawai‘i and Kaua‘i County, respectively — have urged Ige to enhance the program by including a second COVID test after arrival.

Drive-through testing is scheduled Friday in North Kona at the Keauhou Shopping Center from 9 a.m. until noon. Two drive-up district tests are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10. One is in South Kohala at the Kamakoa Nui Park in Waikoloa Village. The other will be held in North Kona at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center. Hours for both sites will be from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

These tests are open to the public. Increased testing will continue across the island.

Hawai‘i County Police will continue to enforce the policies of the mandatory wearing of face coverings, social distancing, and limiting social and professional gatherings.

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