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Sunday, April 12, 2020
April 12, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:52 PM :: 2213 Views

Zero Deaths from COVID on So-Called Experts 'Peak' Day

Hawaii 12.8% of Workforce on Unemployment

And We Aren’t Moving People Around Because?

COVID-19 pandemic vs. 1918 flu pandemic in Hawaiʻi

RimPac COVID Problem

Matson Recycles Containership Kauai in Texas

Test and Trace allows us to carefully restart Hawaii:  But First we must Reassign some HGEA Members

SA Editorial: …The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) has drafted a plan titled “How to Control Hawaii’s Coronavirus Epidemic and Bring Back the Economy: The Next Steps.” Economists Sumner La Croix and Tim Brown authored it, and it presents a well-founded and rational strategy.

The challenge will be preventing the medical, political and economic realities on the ground from upending the best-laid plans, whether it’s this one or any future revision that lays out “the next steps.”

One idea in the UHERO draft that could provide some immediate direction is the proposal that government workers who have been sidelined by the stay-at-home order could be drafted to help with “contact tracing.” That’s the critical function of identifying those whom a COVID-19-infected person had contacted, potentially passing on the virus.

That is a good idea. Bruce Anderson, director of the state Department of Health, said the agency already has help from 30 volunteers, including retirees and nursing and medical students. Currently this work is essential to managing further community spread from the cluster of positive cases at Maui Memorial Medical Center.

During a news conference held Friday in the governor’s office, Anderson said that a longer-term staffing increase will be needed; that conclusion seems borne out by the national experience thus far.

“It’s become obvious that this is something we need to do for the long run,” he added.

But in the near term, the UHERO suggestion to reassign idled state workers to this task makes perfect sense. Down the road, it will be necessary to charting a course back to work without sparking a second wave of cases, nullifying all the progress made by a population that is making great sacrifices now….

As Explained: And We Aren’t Moving People Around Because?

read … Trace for coronavirus containment, then carefully restart Hawaii businesses

Back to Work Starting May 1?

SA: Rather than flipping a switch to reopen the entire country, Fauci said a gradual process will be required based on the status of the pandemic in various parts of the U.S. and the availability of rapid, widespread testing. Once the number of people who are seriously ill sharply declines, officials can begin to “think about a gradual reentry of some sort of normality, some rolling reentry,” Fauci said.

In some places, he said, that might occur as soon as May. “We are hoping that, at the end of the month, we could look around and say, OK, is there any element here that we can safely and cautiously start pulling back on? If so, do it. If not, then just continue to hunker down,” Fauci said.

Whenever restrictions ease, Fauci said, “we know that there will be people who will be getting infected. I mean, that is just reality. “

Social distancing guidelines imposed by President Donald Trump are set to expire April 30.

Trump is eager to restart the economy, which has stalled because most Americans are under orders to “stay at home” to help slow the virus’ spread….

Other scientists have echoed Fauci’s call for a gradual reopening, where restrictions can be ramped up or down….

(IDEA: Get your employees tested now so they will have negative result in hand on May 1.) 

SA: University of Hawaii could face steep financial challenges

CB:  Pandemic Is Scrambling State Budget Priorities

read … Restart

First night of curfew runs smoothly for Oahu and Maui, Mayors urge residents to continue to stay home    

KHON: … Friday marked the first night of mandatory curfew in Honolulu and Maui counties. Police were out patrolling looking for any nonessential people on the roadways between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Things went smoothly according to Honolulu County Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino. But both are urging people to continue to stay home.

“We should not let our guard down. We still need to be serious about this,” Caldwell said after he explained that the first night of curfew was a success.

“It appeared that people are following the curfew. They weren’t out to go drive somewhere to have fun. They were home sleeping and that’s what we wanted…I discussed it with the Honolulu Police Department and they said no citations were issued and no arrests were made,” Caldwell said.

Victorino said most Maui residents also complied.

“Most of the drivers that were stopped were essential workers, people going home, making deliveries, or had a valid reason for being out. We only had five people that were warned that had no valid reason for being out.”

Victorino said he’s giving people a chance to adjust to the curfew, but he hopes they learn quick.

“Come Sunday night, then I’ll be more in the mode of citation oriented.”

Even though people are listening, Victorino said he has had complaints.

“Some people even said, ‘We’re going to sue you now mayor.’ Bring it on. I’m going to do what is right and let the cookie crumble later as it may come. Right now, we need to take care of the people,” Victorino said.

Caldwell said he hasn’t heard too many complaints.

“I’ve heard people saying, ‘Good move.’ I’ve not heard a lot of backlash. The ACLU has raised issues. We want to make sure that we’re not impacting or violating any laws and we’re very careful,” Caldwell explained.

Many are asking if stricter rules and mandates are coming down the pipeline. Both Victorino and Caldwell said, “It depends.”

“Let’s see what happens this weekend and see what other actions need to be taken. I’m hopeful no other actions need to be taken,” Caldwell said.

He also warned against gathering for Easter sunrise service at places like Makapuu Lighthouse and Lanikai Pillboxes…

SA: Maui police issue 7 citations at COVID-19 roadblocks

MN: Roving roadblocks halt drivers Saturday; Maui sees biggest COVID-19 spike

HNN: Rural Maui County lawmakers seek National Guard assistance

read … First night of curfew runs smoothly for Oahu and Maui, Mayors urge residents to continue to stay home

Maui 2nd Cluster at a Church -- Mayor orders Easter Service Shutdown

MN: …When asked about other clusters in Maui County outside of the hospital, Anderson said that clusters can range in definition, including several cases from the same family.

“There’s one church group I believe where there’s an investigation ongoing where everyone came together and there is some evidence that there’s common sources of infection there,” Anderson said.

When asked to clarify whether that was specifically a church on Maui, Anderson said he didn’t know the details but that “I do recall seeing there was an investigation of a cluster of churchgoers ongoing.”…

Because of the cluster at Maui Memorial and the close relationship of admitting patients directly from the hospital, Hale Makua CEO Wesley Lo said Friday that they are stopping admissions temporarily to their care facilities, which have mainly elderly clients, a high-risk group.

“To ensure safety of our existing residents, because of our fragile population, we want to make sure that we are testing for COVID before taking new admissions for the protection of our fragile population,” Lo said in an email.

Lo added that “unfortunately, testing takes a few days, so we are waiting for results of potential new admissions as well as to ensure safety of ‘new admissions’ we are testing residents in the neighborhood where new admission are ‘co-horted’ per CDC guidelines.”…

When asked about how the cluster could have formed, Anderson said that some of the earliest patients who tested positive at the hospital had come from places where COVID-19 was widespread.

“It is very possible that some of those cases were associated with contact with travelers,” Anderson said.

However, he added that there was at least one employee at Maui Memorial who came to work while sick “for an extended period of time” and later tested positive.

“That could’ve also been a major factor in the outbreak,” Anderson said. “We’re still looking at the factors. It isn’t certainly one situation or one sole source of infection. I think there were a number of factors contributing, and that’s what you would expect in a situation like this.”…

SA: More cases confirmed at Maui Memorial hot spot

MN: Recent COVID-19 Cases Include Church Cluster on Maui

KITV: Maui mayor suspends car sermons ahead of the Easter holiday

And: Maui Hospital Coverup? COVID-19 Cluster Developing Since Mid-March

read … Third Maui COVID-19 patient dies

Petition calls for top hospital leaders to resign over COVID-19 allegations

MN: … Started by Aaron Bear, an ICU nurse who’s worked at the hospital for 11 years, the petition had more than 1,000 signatures on Saturday night. Bear has been outspoken about safety concerns but has said that other staffers are afraid to come forward due to possible retaliation.

Several state and local government leaders also have been vocal about the need for greater transparency and trust from the hospital’s administration.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health reported Saturday that another 10 workers have tested positive for COVID-19 at Maui Memorial Medical Center. That makes 29 positive tests at the hospital.

However, some of the infections appear to be separate introductions and not necessarily part of a cluster of hospital / health care-associated infections, state health officials said.

The state Health Department emphasized that the cluster of cases is not a hospital-wide issue at this time but involves at least two wards with the Chronic Care Ward as the major focus, according to Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center spokesman Dan Dennison.

Dennison said that as of Saturday, 90 staff and 36 patients have been screened and had a swab specimen collected for testing. The hospital on Friday said it had tested 126 patients, caregivers and physicians last week, and that results for 24 had come back while 63 were still pending. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about the discrepancy in numbers….

read … Petition calls for top hospital leaders to resign over COVID-19 allegations

Hawaii senior care homes take extreme measures to keep COVID-19 out

SA: …Hawaii’s adult care centers, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are prohibiting visitors and taking other extreme measures to stop COVID-19 from penetrating a resident population particularly vulnerable to the infectious disease.

So far it seems to be working. As of Friday, health officials said no coronavirus cases have been linked to any of Hawaii’s care homes.

This is in stark contrast to reports of COVID-19 infecting hundreds of care homes from coast to coast and many more around the world….

read … Hawaii senior care homes take extreme measures to keep COVID-19 out

Few Students Participating in On-Line Classes—Few Teachers Teaching

HTH: …The number of students actively engaging in online and distance-learning was not immediately known, according to the DOE.

“While exact numbers of students participating in enrichment activities are not currently available, the department expects all students to engage in continuity of learning plans whether online, via printed materials, or some combination of both,” Chambers said.

“I think it’s too early to tell (how many students are participating online), because it’s so new … ,” Kanehailua said, adding that principals are still sending the message “we’re here to support families, continuing to provide supports for them.”

While “nothing about this situation is fortunate,” Farias said the discontinuation of in-class instruction came at a better time for Hawaii students heading into spring break because many teachers wrap up lessons before the pause in instruction.

HTH: “Difficult, Pretty Crazy, Challenging” – Teachers

read … Administrators help students overcome challenges as they adapt to distance learning

Public Defender demands that Felons be Allowed to become Homeless when Released Early

KITV: … Honolulu's Public Defender James Tabe has asked Acting Prosecuting Attorney Dwight Nadamoto to sign off on a list of "non-violent" inmates both convicted of crimes and awaiting trial.

Nadamoto tells KITV4 he will not sign off on the "wholesale release" of inmates, but will look at them on a case-by-case basis.

"The bottom line is we’re not releasing anybody that’s going to be a danger to the public," said Nadamoto.

Nadamoto identified twelve inmates on the Public Defender's list of convicted felons who he'd allow to be released on a few conditions.

"They have to test negative for COVID-19 and they need a verified residence and by that I mean the person they’re going to stay with has to welcome them," Nadamoto told KITV4.

Tabe did not agree to these conditions. …

read … Hawaii prison "population relief" efforts taking shape in various forms

Kauai: Burglary Down, Domestic Violence Up

CB: … Burglary is down — by a lot — during the COVID-19 crisis. Raybuck says he thinks it’s because people are home more, thus denying opportunities to thieves. And because few tourists are here, rental cars and hotel rooms can’t be broken into.

But in a trend that has raised concerns among law enforcement and other government officials, calls to the Kauai Police Department show that physical and verbal domestic abuse are up since the crisis began. Little change has occurred in the number of assaults unrelated to domestic disputes….

Serious assault is also up, but the numbers are very small. Second-degree assault, for example, increased, but from just three to six.

The number of traffic citations is down sharply, suggesting that people are heeding orders from Mayor Derek Kawakami and Gov. David Ige to stay home. Traffic collisions — especially serious ones — have plunged, as well. Serious crashes dropped 41% and crashes in general were down 20% with 135 collisions in February and 95 in March.

Drug arrests and new filings of drug charges are both up — by 42% in the case of bookings related to drug arrests. KPD has redoubled its efforts to drive down drug dealing, said Raybuck, especially after a sitting Kauai County Council member was indicted for running a methamphetamine ring earlier this year….

read … Kauai: How The Coronavirus Is Affecting Our Social Fabric

A 2 mile-long line stretched around Ala Moana. A sign families need help

HNN: … It looked like something right out of the Great Depression.

Hundreds of cars formed a line as long as two miles from Ward Avenue to Ala Moana Center Saturday morning for the Salvation Army’s drive-thru emergency food distribution.

A long line of cars formed as people waited to get basic groceries from the Salvation Army Saturday at Ala Moana Center. (Source: HNN)

“I haven’t seen anything like it. But I don’t think America has seen anything like the COVID crisis that we’re having right now,” said Salvation Army Major Jeffrey Martin.

“This is extraordinary."…

KITV: Long lines at massive emergency food distribution on O'ahu

read … A 2 mile-long line stretched around Ala Moana. A sign families need help

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