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Ige Tells Tourists to Stay Away -- Admits Most new COVID result of residents traveling off-island
SA: … Because of sky-rocketing COVID-19 cases, tourists should stay away from Hawaii and residents should limit travel to essential business at least through the end of October, Gov. David Ige told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii livestream program today.
“Now’s not a good time to visit Hawaii,” Ige said. “We have limited capacity in the restaurants, we see continuing case counts here.”
“I expect co-operation from the visitor industry,” Ige said. “… They certainly don’t like it, but they are supportive of getting that message out. … They want to be helpful in stemming this surge in COVID cases.”
“Most” new cases are the result of residents traveling off-island and coming back home to spread COVID-19 in the community, Ige said.
“I’m asking all residents and visitors alike to restrict travel, curtail travel, to Hawaii to essential activities only.”
Asked about the possibility of another state-wide shutdown, which crippled the visitor industry in 2020 and led to the highest unemployment rate and worst economy in the nation, Ige said:
“Another shut down is really the last resort.”…
read … Ige tells visitors to stay away from Hawaii
Tougher Hawaii travel restrictions possible as COVID-19 surge continues
SA: … State and county officials are considering bringing back COVID-19 testing for vaccinated domestic travelers, as well as implementing other requirements aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green said officials are closely watching the surge in COVID-19 cases, and if conditions worsen could take action.
Sunday was a record day for cases, which soared to a one-day high of 893. However, Green said any change would come with at least a two-week warning….
While increased testing is under consideration, Green said, “Travel pre-testing may be challenged legally because we are the only ones to have successfully done it, and vaccination status is the standard the CDC has been promoting.”…
Green said 392 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals Sunday. “We peaked at 318 last year,” he said….
read … Tougher Hawaii travel restrictions possible as COVID-19 surge continues
Honolulu Emergency Services' Director warns 911 calls, COVID cases overwhelming hospitals
KITV: … "Over the next week, the hospitals will get worse as far as their census, because the cases are still going up, people are still calling 911. So over the next weeks, it'd be very interesting to see how much additional resources we're going to need to support patient care, whether it's putting a tent up and filling that up with sick COVID patients that can't fit in the hospital," he said. "How many people we need to have come from FEMA, the nurses, we need the National Guard, I don't know, I don't know what that's going to hold the next week or two, long term. We'll see what restrictions get announced in the next few days. And see how that mitigates this."
Dr. Ireland talked about Friday's internal state of emergency at Queen's Medical Center West Oahu, citing the sheer volume of 911 calls. He hopes the added help from FEMA nurses will alleviate the pressure on local staff.
"We're going to have to start thinking about having hospitalized patients in tents somewhere on this island or in the parking lot or somewhere else. Because if there's no room to put somebody, they hold them in the ER. But if there's no room to even hold them in the ER, then you're outside or you're in the cafeteria or something. And so I think those discussions are ongoing. But we're in a place that's worse than we were a year ago. The bright spot is, you know, we do have a large number of people vaccinated, and more should get vaccinated, and we hope to get vaccinated," he said….
read … Honolulu Emergency Services' Director warns 911 calls, COVID cases overwhelming hospitals
Blangiardi suspends large gatherings on Oahu starting Wednesday
SA: … Large gatherings on Oahu will be suspended for four weeks beginning Wednesday, Mayor Rick Blangiardi said today.
Events that will be prohibited include weddings, funerals, sporting events and other attractions such as the Van Gogh Exhibit at the Hawaii Convention Center.
People will still be able to gather in groups of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors….
read … Blangiardi suspends large gatherings on Oahu starting Wednesday
Blangiardi outlines plan for spending $386M in federal aid
SA: …Mayor Rick Blangiardi published a draft of his plans for the $386 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds that he must submit to the Honolulu City Council for approval. It is the first official public glance into how the funds might be used….
Blangiardi’s proposal asks the Council to approve the expenditure of all $386 million in ARPA funds, not just the tranche that the city has already received.
During the budgeting process, which ended in June, only about $28 million of ARPA funds were allocated to specific projects. It is now up to the Blangiardi administration to present the Council a plan for the rest of the funds which they will have to vote on.
City Managing Director Michael Formby said the mayor can technically use the funds without the Council’s approval. However, the administration is committed to making the process as collaborative as possible, noting that when the first influx of COVID-19 relief funds came into the city through the CARES Act, the city Council was largely cut out of the process by former Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
In Blangiardi’s proposal to the Council, only about $137 million, or 35% of the full amount of funds, has been allocated to specific programs. Formby said that is on purpose.
“Our preference, still to this day, is that we keep the spending by category broad until we collectively agree how we want to implement and spend money,” he said. “It gives us more flexibility to do things quickly.”…
read … Blangiardi outlines plan for spending $386M in federal aid
Hawaii’s Vaccine Mandate For State Lawmakers Is Unusual
CB: … The Hawaii Legislature will be one of the few in the country to require all of its members and staff to be fully vaccinated or submit to weekly Covid-19 tests.
The House rules are set to go into effect Sept. 30 while the Senate’s mandate is slated to begin Sept. 1.
While staff can be required to take the shot or face disciplinary action, including termination, lawmakers themselves can’t be forced to get a Covid-19 vaccine, legislative leaders said.
“Elected officials have to set an example for the rest of the public,” House Speaker Scott Saiki said. “We may have some members that have legitimate medical reasons for not being vaccinated and I understand that. But for those who just refuse to be vaccinated for any reason are not setting a good example.”
In the Senate though, lawmakers can be censured, suspended or expelled if they refuse to be vaccinated or take the weekly test, according to the Senate’s vaccine policy….
Of the 15 states that have mandated vaccines or weekly tests for public employees, only Hawaii and New York are requiring the same of state lawmakers, a review of those states’ policies found.
California’s Assembly has a similar mandate, but not the state Senate. Massachusetts lawmakers are also considering a vaccine mandate after Gov. Charlie Baker announced one for state workers.
Christopher Mooney, a professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago who studies state level politics and policy in the U.S., said that state legislatures, like Congress, can control their own internal processes. There’s nothing in a state’s constitution that should prevent its legislature from enacting a vaccine mandate, he said….
Sen. Kurt Fevella, the chamber’s only Republican, was included in those caucus discussions. He supports the vaccinations and the Senate policy. He even plans to host pop-up vaccination clinics at Puuloa District Park in Ewa Beach. To him, it’s no different from other inoculations that are already required in other settings.
“When we were little kids, we all got our booster shots,” Fevella said.
It’s not clear how many representatives or senators are fully vaccinated.
Kouchi said he hasn’t asked individual members yet and Saiki said he won’t know until the Sept. 30 House deadline….
read … Hawaii’s Vaccine Mandate For State Lawmakers Is Unusual
The Brady List: Why Police Are Supposed To Tell Prosecutors About Dishonest Cops
CB: … Jonathan Burge, a Honolulu defense attorney, was representing a drunken driving defendant in 2019 when prosecutors told him they could find no information that would undermine the credibility of the police officer who made the arrest.
Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to know whether an officer testifying against them has credibility issues. It’s called Brady information, after the 1963 Supreme Court case that, along with ensuing decisions, established the obligation.
Despite the prosecutor’s assurance about Officer Charles Rezentes, Burge had heard otherwise from another attorney.
“A lot of the defense bar learns through each other,” said Burge, who is also a former police officer. “When we get an officer, we’ll email each other: Do you have any Brady material on this guy?”
Under oath, Rezentes admitted he had been investigated “two or three times” for issues regarding truthfulness and report writing and was even fired once before being reinstated, according to a court transcript.
The judge excluded Rezentes as a witness and the case was dismissed.
“That information eventually won the case for my client,” Burge said. ….
read … The Brady List: Why Police Are Supposed To Tell Prosecutors About Dishonest Cops
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