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Friday, March 20, 2020
March 20, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:01 PM :: 956 Views

COVID Committee Meets in Secret: Harbors Div Closes Hawaii to Cruise Ships, Airports Div Next

COVID: House Speaker 'Implores' Ige to Impose Travel Ban, Order Military Response

Thousands Sign Petition Demanding 14-Day Quarantine for all Visitors

Hawaii K-O: Gabbard Exits Primary a Lady Legend After Downing Officer Harris

Barking Sands: Pentagon Test Launches Prototype Hypersonic Weapon

Caldwell: Homeless enforcement more important than ever

Full Text: Caldwell Updates COVID Emergency Proclamation

A century of Australia/New Zealand shipping to Hawaii ends

The Cruise Industry Assistance Washington Should Give: Repeal the Passenger Vessel Services Act

COVID: 26 Cases -- All Travel Related 

Corona Virus: Hawaii Ranks 43rd

Legislators: After Corona, ‘High Money Bills’ Unlikely to be Approved

HTH: … With the Legislature in recess, bills that were in process before Monday are technically still alive and will still be heard when the session resumes. But because that date is still unknown, many Big Island lawmakers are unsure how many bills — if any — will make it through the Legislature this year.

“Frankly, based on what we’re seeing around the world with this pandemic, I think it’s unlikely that we come back for a regular session,” said South Kona Rep. Richard Creagan. “Most of these bills are just going to have to start over next year.”

Kona Rep. Nicole Lowen disagreed, saying she has “every expectation to come back to a full session and continue these bills.”

Most lawmakers agreed that some bills might still survive, but the priorities of the state will have drastically changed by the time the recess ends.

“The reality is that, because of COVID-19, our supplementary budget is going to look very different,” said Puna Rep. Joy San Buenaventura, adding that “high-money bills” are unlikely to be approved.

Hamakua Rep. Mark Nakashima agreed, predicting that any bill that would appropriate state funds will not make it out of the legislative session.

“All appropriation bills are on life support now,” Nakashima said.

Nakashima and fellow Hilo Rep. Chris Todd said the Legislature likely will re-prioritize surviving bills to favor proposals for what Todd called “shovel-ready” construction projects in an effort to stimulate an economy that is already weakening as a result of the global pandemic.

However, all of the legislators interviewed agreed that the response to the coronavirus crisis by state and county agencies has been mixed at best.

“It’s strange to me that Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim is not abiding by the rules set by the governor,” said Hilo Sen. Lorraine Inouye, who added that she was concerned that Kim had not ordered nonessential county workers to work from home….

VIDEO: Sen. Kahele: Hawaii Hotels On Verge Of Bankruptcy 

read … Big Isle lawmakers mixed on how state Legislature will proceed

Sen Lorraine Inouye in Isolation Awaiting COVID Test Results

HTH: … State Sen. Lorraine Inouye of Hilo said she was tested Thursday for the COVID-19 coronavirus and will remain in isolation in Honolulu until she receives the test results.

Inouye, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, said the tests were requested after she received the news that Sen. Clarence Nishihara, chairman of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs, tested positive for the potentially deadly virus….

Sen. Kai Kahele of Hilo, who’s running for the second Hawaii congressional district seat held by U.S Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, said he’s “worked alongside Sen. Nishihara” the past couple of weeks.

“His office is actually right next to my office,” Kahele said. “As of just a few days ago, Monday, I think it was, we were all there together,” Kahele said….

KXNT: Nishihara stayed downtown at Main Street Station between February 22nd and 25th

read … Inouye in isolation; Big Isle senators react after Nishihara tests positive for COVID-19

2,000 People Tested for Corona Virus in Hawaii as Private Labs Step in

CB: … By Thursday, more than a thousand Hawaii residents had been screened for the new coronavirus, with less than 3% confirmed as a COVID-19 case.

In just a few weeks, commercial laboratories have far outpaced the state in their rate of testing, but Hawaii Department of Health officials say their screening methodology is deliberately narrow to conserve resources.

To date, the state has conducted 40 tests based on direct physician referrals for patients who are severely ill. Six of those 40 tests returned positive for COVID-19.

In addition, the State Laboratories Division has tested another 124 people randomly, none of whom were found to have the coronavirus. They were sampled from a random pool of patients who had suspect symptoms confirmed to not be caused by the flu.

The health department has said it would be capable of testing 250 specimens a week, and 500 within a week if needed for an emergency….

(Skip a paragraph of Josh Green histrionics.)

…Private laboratories, in partnership with sister laboratories on the mainland, have conducted more than 1,000 tests, resulting in 20 positives, according to DOH.

Officials with the State of Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center said Thursday the JIC did not “have the exact figures” for private laboratory testing and directed Civil Beat to ask laboratories directly.  But a Clinical Labs of Hawaii spokesperson said the company is “providing all the data for DOH to release.”

Green confirmed that Clinical Labs, just one of two private laboratories currently conducting tests in the state, had conducted more than 2,000 tests, but some may have not yet been verified by state laboratories….

Private sector laboratories will need resources to keep up the pace. According to the Legislature’s Senate Special Committee on COVID-19, commercial laboratories report they’re “running low on supplies” to screen for COVID-19….

SA: ‘Worried well’ burden hospitals

read … DOH Testing in Hawaii For COVID-19 Remains Deliberately Narrow

“We have never, ever experienced this level of unemployment claims coming in”

CB: … About 3,000 people applied for unemployment insurance Tuesday, nearly double the entire previous week. Last week’s 1,595 applications were already a 37% increase from the same week last year. More than 1,100 of the claims were on Oahu, which saw about a 50% jump from the same week last year.

“We have never, ever experienced this level of unemployment claims coming in,” said Scott Murakami, director of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations that oversees the unemployment office, at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Hawaii’s unemployment office shut down walk-in appointments in an effort to prevent crowds from forming and potentially spreading the virus. But the sheer number of calls overloaded the state system and the slowed the website.

“You can be mid-conversation and boom it will just cut you off,” Murakami said, explaining that even he had to use his cell phone to place a work call.

Despite the technical problems, 2,260 people still managed to apply for unemployment Wednesday. That’s more than the average number of weekly unemployment claims any week throughout the past five years.

The state is hoping to implement a series of upgrades, including adding two servers, to help handle the spike in traffic. Murakami said that the state was in the process of modernizing its system but hasn’t yet completed those upgrades. He said the seven staff members in the unemployment office are being joined by 16 staff from other divisions.

Murakami says it normally takes 14 days to process an unemployment application and that the staff is doing their best to handle the uptick….

Meanwhile: Walmart and Safeway hiring in Hawaii as demand for products mounts

read … Unemployment

Victorino’s coronavirus act takes effect today, calls for maximum $5,000 fine, jail

MN: … Victorino’s proclamation, which takes effect today, shut down certain nonessential activities and businesses and discouraged gatherings of more than 10 people — with individuals urged to stay 6 feet apart. It said violations are punishable as misdemeanors with fines up to $5,000, up to a year in jail, or both.

The mayor downplayed the punishments during a Thursday evening news conference; he said the county will take a “compassionate and common sense” approach toward enforcement.

“We are not here to run around and catch people doing something wrong,” he said.

But if people do see possible violations, they may call the Maui Police Department nonemergency line at 244-6400, county spokesman Chris Sugidono said Thursday night….

“Worse case scenario, the last, last resort, is taking them into custody,” he said. “That will be last, last resort.”…

read … Victorino’s coronavirus act takes effect today, calls for maximum $5,000 fine, jail

The need for blood donations remains high during coronavirus pandemic

HNN: … At any given time, the Blood Bank of Hawaii only has about a week supply of blood on hand.

But the CEO of the Blood Bank of Hawaii says donations are down 30 percent after 40 community groups canceled their blood drives in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If people stop donating and blood drives are canceled, it’s only a few days where we will run out of blood,” said Dr. Kim Anh Nguyen.

The Blood Bank’s facility on Young Street is the only location accepting donations. Next week, they’ll have pop up locations around Oahu.

No donations are being accepted on the neighbor islands, but hospitals will be supplied from Honolulu….

read … The need for blood donations remains high during coronavirus pandemic

Soft on Crime: Sex Offender Gets Multiple 2nd Chances—Caught in Sting

MN: … Kyle Cribben, 28, of Napili, was increased to $500,000 during his initial appearance Tuesday afternoon in Wailuku District Court.

Deputy Prosecutor Karen Droscoski said Cribben was a “serious sexual predator” who allegedly interacted electronically with an undercover police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

He allegedly participated in chats with the officer and, after learning she was 13, took a photo of his private parts and sent it electronically through an application, Droscoski said. She said Cribben reportedly said he had a condom and wanted to have sex with the girl.

He was arrested Saturday after going to a meeting site they had agreed on.

Cribben was charged with first-degree electronic enticement of a child and indecent electronic display to a child.

Droscoski said Cribben was investigated in a prior electronic enticement case but wasn’t charged because of “noncooperation of the child victim,” who was 15.

“He has a violent criminal history” that includes sexual assault arrests, Droscoski said.

She said Cribben is on probation in two cases for violating a protective order obtained by the mother of his daughter and for violating a temporary restraining order involving another woman. Based on the allegations in those cases, “the defendant is unable to stay away from these women and is always demanding sex from them,” Droscoski said.

read … Why was this guy out?

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