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Friday, April 17, 2020
April 17, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:55 PM :: 3114 Views

Governor Ige Orders Face Masks in Stores Statewide

Who's Going to Ride Rail with COVID?

COVID Count: Another Day Without a Death

COVID Count 12 New Cases, 16 Released

COVID-19 Turmoil Places Renewed Focus on Costly Maritime Protectionism

Hawaii County Police 162 Arrested or Cited for Stay-at-Home Violations

New Dean for UH Law School -- Focus on 'Critical Race Theory'

Judge Orders Habitat Protection for 14 Hawaii Species

The Lowdown on Lockdowns

Maui COVID Patients ‘Treated’ by DoH--‘Released’ by Telephone, Never Saw a Doctor

HNN: … A month after being diagnosed with COVID-19, a West Maui couple says they’re finally back to feeling 100%.

Although the state Department of Health released the two from isolation weeks ago, they’ve been reluctant to have contact with anyone.

Sean Combs and Lexi ONeill say state health officials gave them the all clear without ever getting checked out by a doctor. It wasn’t until Wednesday that they were allowed to get retested.

Those drive-thru test results won’t be in for several days.

But another test, for COVID-19 antibodies, showed they may have at least some immunity to the virus. ….

“A wet cough was something we experienced the whole time of having the virus. Really, really thick phlegm,” said ONeill.

It wasn’t long before they both took a turn for the worse.

Combs said, “I’ve had pneumonia and I’ve had mono and this felt like both of them together. There were certainly one or two days where I was really concerned I wasn’t gong to make it.”

Recovery took weeks.

(When your only medical help is DoH.  Too bad they’re not movie stars.) 

They say someone from the Health Department called them every day.

When ONeill’s symptoms stopped, she says the health worker told her: “Wait four days and then you can go out. But Sean still had symptoms and I didn’t feel comfortable with that.

"So we waited until he stopped having symptoms and then four days after that.”

Combs added, “We felt uneasy about this idea of being let go without some kind of one-on-one contact with a medical professional or subsequent testing.”

They’ve since been seen by a doctor and were told they’re no longer contagious ― but want to be sure.

“We will continue to social distance while we wait for those next tests,” said ONeill….

Meanwhile: Actor Daniel Dae Kim credits 'secret weapon' Hydroxychloroquine for Four Day COVID-19 recovery

Meanwhile: Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks took Hydroxychloroquine

read … A month after COVID-19 diagnosis, Maui couple says they’re finally feeling well

Unemployment in Hawaii tops 37% as coronavirus shutdown continues

HNN: … And a new state-by-state analysis shows Hawaii is among the state’s hardest hit by shutdown orders.

That’s because many of those laid off are connected to the tourism industry, which has been at a standstill since stay-at-home orders went into effect followed by travel-related quarantines.

In February, Hawaii’s workforce was about 651,000 strong, and unemployment was just 2.7% ― far below the national average.

From March 1 to Thursday, the number of unemployment claims filed in the islands stands at a staggering 244,330. That puts the state at more than 37% unemployment….

AP: 1/3 of Hawaii’s labor force files unemployment claims

read … Unemployment in Hawaii tops 37% as coronavirus shutdown continues

Murky Ethical Firewall After HECO Installs COVID Recovery Czar in Governor’s Office

CB: … Hawaii’s New ‘Economic Navigator’ Has A Murky Journey Ahead … It’s part of Ige’s office, and Oshima is a volunteer, on loan from Hawaiian Electric, where he’s still paid as senior executive advisor. Oshima said an ethical firewall has been set up to prevent conflicts of interest….

Oshima indicated he’s not going to push an agenda but rather listen to what people say they want. Even though Ige has suspended government transparency measures like the state’s open meeting and public records laws, the governor’s proclamation expresses lofty goals concerning public participation in crafting the economic plan. It’s intended to be based on engaging stakeholders, coordinating efforts and collecting input, among other things.

(In other words, The Delphi Technique.)

To that end, Oshima said public input, including comments and ideas as well as data that can be used to drive analyses, will be put on a website being set up by Ige’s office.

In the shorter term, Oshima said, he agrees generally with a plan that’s been articulated by economists with the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, which was presented on Monday to the House Select Committee.

It includes having robust systems in place for screening, testing, contact tracing and isolating people who test positive before the economy opens in phases, with businesses geared toward locals opening before the tourism industry comes back. But the reopening means more than just opening businesses, he said.

“It’s not just reopening our state to tourism,” he said. “It’s reopening our social fabric, our economy.”

New rules concerning social distancing might need to be in place, he said. And certain things may need to be institutionalized.

“What are the new rules?” he said. “It’s not just turning a light switch.”

Business models might have to change.

“Whenever there’s this kind of disruption, people really have to look inside and make some choices,” he said.

For example, he said, the improved air quality resulting from fewer cars on the road and the widespread practice of working from home could lead to more people sharing rides and companies letting more people work remotely. Oshima tempered his outlook on remote work, however, saying both Google and IBM had discovered benefits of having workers share space after giving remote work a go recently.

“There are going to be different models,” he said. “It’s not all going to be black and white.”

In the end, he said, the goal is to create a plan that will make rational decisions. But he said, there will almost certainly be some who are not happy.

“Not everyone is going to get their way,” he said.  …

PR: Governor Ige creates new position for old boy – Oshima responsible for economic, community recovery or something

Related: The Delphi Technique: Let’s Stop Being Manipulated!

read … Hawaii’s New ‘Economic Navigator’ Has A Murky Journey Ahead

Maui County No Furloughs, 1/3 of ‘Workers’ Faking it at Home

MN: …Maui County said Thursday that it does not plan to furlough workers, even as the state mulls possible cutbacks to offset major losses in tax collections.

“The county does not have immediate plans to furlough workers,” Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said in an email Thursday. “We continue to monitor revenues and our operational capacity. It is important to consider that our revenue sources differ from the state.”

Maui County employs about 2,500 people, and “essentially all county employees have been determined essential,” Victorino said. About two-thirds are reporting to work as usual, including most of the employees in the Office of the Mayor.

About one-third of county employees are working from home, and less than 1 percent are neither reporting to work nor working from home, as they have taken vacation or sick leave….

HTH: CARES money uncertain: State budget woes might eat into neighbor island money

read ... Free Money from the Sky

Honolulu lockdown to last for months

KITV: … It will be a while before life in Honolulu County returns to normal. Mayor Kirk Caldwell said in a press conference on Thursday, the shelter in place order will be in place for "many, many months," and slowly modified to reopen businesses.

He has four criteria in place before he'll consider reopening any businesses:

1) Epidemiology: The case count has to decrease consistently for a 14-day period, in concert with more testing.

2) Healthcare: Ensure first responders have enough personal protective equipment. He says that was part of the purpose of the lockdown - to “flatten the curve” and buy time for the city to stock up on PPE. If we have supplies, he says, we can continue to open up.

3) Public health: Mayor wants to be sure the city's public health policies and practices are working well, such as a thorough contact tracing process, and designated facilities to care for the sick who can’t quarantine at home.

4) Societal readiness: Does everyone understand the need for social distancing? "I believe we're not going to be hugging each other for a long time. We're not going to be shaking hands for a long time. We'll shaka from a distance, not being close together," he warns.

Mayor Caldwell says he'll let small businesses reopen slowly, moving on a sliding scale that leads up to big businesses. The whole time, the City will be testing, and if there's a spike in cases, businesses will have to pull back. “We'll climb a little, stop and test, make sure everyone's OK.”….

SA: Hawaii officials say some precautions likely to remain even after coronavirus wanes

HNN: Mayor: Lifting stay-at-home order is not like 'ripping off a Band-Aid’

KHON: WATCH: Mayor Caldwell discusses modifying the Stay at Home/Work from Home Order

KHON: WATCH: Mayor Michael Victorino discusses latest COVID-19 updates from Maui County

read … Honolulu lockdown to last for months

Gov. Ige: 'We do not meet criteria to re-open May 1' as President Trump encouraged

KITV: … President Donald Trump has issued guidelines for re-opening the State amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While there were only 11 new positive cases on Thursday, and it appears Hawai‘i is flattening the curve, the state currently doesn’t meet the criteria for a phased opening. The guidelines require a downward trajectory of cases for a 14-day period. Gov. Ige said, “We are not there yet, so please continue your hard work and perseverance. We will get through this together.”….

HNN: LIVE: Public school campuses will remain closed for remainder of school year, May 28, state announces

KHON: WATCH: COVID-19 briefing with Gov. Ige, Lt. Gov. Green and local medical leaders.  

SA: State closes all beaches, stricter social distancing requirements imposed for boating, hiking

SA: Tracking of arriving visitors is improving, Hawaii tourism leaders tell lawmakers

read … Gov. Ige: 'We do not meet criteria to re-open May 1' as President Trump encouraged

Pandemic Further Postpones Federal Civil And Criminal Trials

CB: … Now all trials scheduled to take place before June 15 are postponed…..However, hearings are still taking place over the phone, the order said, with the exception of non-essential criminal matters, which will be postponed until after June 15. Parties in cases can still process documents through the electronic system…..

read … Pandemic Further Postpones Federal Civil And Criminal Trials

HART: Give STG $100M to Build past Middle Street Because Nan isn’t getting job done (and pay Nan too!)

CB: … The proposal would have STG, which is building four stations and about five miles of elevated track past the airport, build another one-third mile of track ending past Puuhale Road in Kalihi…. 

(Since Middle St is going to be the end of the line, this can become a turnaround/storage track.)

Glenn Nohara, the oversight committee’s chairman, said the board should consult with the city’s corporation counsel to make sure the move didn’t violate procurement laws. The rail project, Nohara pointed out, remains under investigation by federal authorities largely for its change orders, “so we need to make sure we’re squeaky clean”

HART also needs to consult with rail’s partners at the Federal Transit Administration to make sure the move doesn’t violate the project’s funding agreement, Nohara said.

Giving STG more work to do could address a major delay claim the firm has leveled against HART and the city, agency officials told the board. On Thursday, Nohara said that claim involved incomplete utility-relocation work around Ualena Street, and that it amounted to $40 million.

Under the extension, STG would help relocate the power lines hanging between Middle and Puuhale streets to clear a path for that guideway, Moore said. Nan, Inc. has already started relocating utilities in that area. Moore cautioned that rail has faced problems in the past when multiple contractors work in the same place at the same time….

On Thursday, HART officials said there’s about a $200 million difference between the city and Howard Hughes on the value of the rail properties. Previously, a report from the contractor overseeing rail for the FTA put that difference at $100 million.

HART expects the matter will eventually go to court.

“It’s a very complicated case because there are so many parcels involved,” said Dylan Jones, HART’s director of real property acquisitions and relocations.

On Thursday, the board was supposed to vote on a $10 million amendment to provide HART with more legal help to face Howard Hughes, plus the owners of 25 parcels that the city still needs access to for rail.

Some of those parcels are crucial to keep utility relocation moving in town. Based on HART’s schedule, that work should be about a third complete by now. A presentation on Thursday showed it at about 3% or 4% complete, instead.

The board never got to vote on that change, however, because the meeting software crashed….

SA: HART considers a huge $70M-to-$100M ‘change order’ for rail

Nan: Corona Towers: Council Hides Behind Quarantine, Gives Development Deal to Convicted Felon

read … HART Explores Ways To Keep Rail Work Going Amid COVID-19 Setbacks

Honolulu Salary Commission members unanimously vote no to city officials’ raises

SA: … The Honolulu Salary Commission voted unanimously today to recommend no salary raises for elected and appointed city officials.

In light of the economic crisis facing the city and the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with many furloughed or laid off, elected officials and citizens objected to the nearly across-the-board 3% pay raises on the list, many of whom already make well over $100,000.

The Commission Chairman Kevin Sakamoto held the hearing at Honolulu Hale in the Council Chamber, with all in attendance wearing masks, but no live testimony from the public was allowed….

Only three commissioners attended in person. The others attended remotely, but one commissioner could not clearly be heard….

read … Honolulu Salary Commission members unanimously vote no to city officials’ raises

Navy ‘ready to flex’ Rim of the Pacific exercise in Hawaii despite coronavirus outbreak

SA: … The Navy is still hoping to hold the big Rim of the Pacific maritime exercise scheduled mainly through July off Hawaii — but suggested it is looking at modifying the international interoperability drills to do so.

Given that RIMPAC is more than two months away, the military hope is that coronavirus will have abated enough to keep some form of the exercise.

“We are evaluating the situation and potential impacts from COVID-19. U.S. Third Fleet, U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. (Indo-Pacific Command) are ready to flex RIMPAC with our allies and partners, and are examining additional options to ensure the safety of our forces and the safety of the people of Hawaii,” Lt. Ada Willis, a spokeswoman with the Third Fleet in San Diego, said in an email. Third Fleet plans RIMPAC….

The future of this year’s RIMPAC comes at a time when some other big Pacific exercises are falling to the effects of COVID-19.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command canceled Exercise Balikatan 2020, scheduled for May 4-15 in the Philippines, which last year saw the involvement of about 3,500 American service members.

Hundreds of Schofield Barracks soldiers were expected to participate this year. Military planners are looking for other engagement options.

Australia said recently that after “careful deliberation” the government decided not to proceed with the 2020 Marine Rotational Force — Darwin deployment, given ongoing restrictions associated with COVID-19.

The annual spring, six-month rotation of 2,500 Marines to Australia was to include Hawaii-based forces including MV-22 Ospreys, AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom helicopters, RQ-21 Blackjack drones and some Marines from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.

Schofield Barracks this week brought home 1,350 soldiers early from training in Thailand due to coronavirus concerns.

COVID-19 also resulted in the postponement of a first-of-its-kind test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile killer that was to be conducted with a defense-of-Hawaii mission in mind.

read … Navy ‘ready to flex’ Rim of the Pacific exercise in Hawaii despite coronavirus outbreak

Should the State use federal funds to pay for rapid antibody tests? Lt. Gov. Josh Green said they should

KHON: … Imagine being able to tell if someone is immune to COVID-19.

The rapid antibody test does exactly that in less than two minutes.

Lieutenant Governor and State COVID-19 Healthcare Liaison, Dr. Josh Green said the test is a game changer.

“Imagine if you use that test on a bunch of firefighters or nurses, and they were immune. Then we don’t worry. We don’t have to use a lot of PPE. We don’t worry about them getting infected.”

Green believes antibody testing will be a vibrant part of our health care system for the next two years. He said he wants the state to invest in it and he already sent his suggestions to HI-EMA Director Maj. General Kenneth Hara.

“The best way to do this would be to buy several hundred thousand for the state….

read … Should the State use federal funds to pay for rapid antibody tests? Lt. Gov. Josh Green said they should

Schatz: Free Money from the Sky Will Stop Pay Cuts

KHON: … Hawaii could get another four billion dollars in federal aid, which should prevent pay cuts for state workers being considered by the governor.

That’s according to U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, who says Congress could agree on the proposal by next month….

KITV: Proposed pay cuts to state mental health workers could endanger public safety

read … Falling from the sky

Supreme Court: Inmate Release Motions Due by Monday April 20

CB: … Inmate releases as part of a statewide effort to reduce jail populations to mitigate COVID-19 risks will be done on a case-by-case basis instead of a blanket court action.

The Hawaii Supreme Court issued an order Wednesday following the recommendations of Special Master Dan Foley. In an April 9 interim report, Foley said judges should be involved in the process….

read … Hawaii Supreme Court: Inmate Release To Be Considered By Judges

108 inmates on Big Isle seek early release because their lawyers think we might be dumb enough to give it to them

HTH:  … Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth said that so far, motions have been filed for early release for 108 inmates on the Big Island.

“That doesn’t mean that there have been 108 people who have been released,” Roth said. “There are motions that are pending, there are motions that we’ve (agreed) to. But there are about 65 where they may have been contested.”

Roth said the courts have been denying release of inmates he describes as “very dangerous offenders.”

“The murder cases and the sex offense cases where they’ve filed (requests for release) — my understanding is that the courts have denied those,” he said….

As of Thursday, Hawaii Community Correctional Center had a total inmate population of 282, according to Toni Schwartz, spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety. That’s still 56 inmates above its operational capacity of 226 inmates, but 113 fewer inmates than the population the chronically overcrowded jail reported March 2. Many of those released are pretrial detainees.

(FACT: There are still ZERO cases of COVID in Hawaii jail and prison system.)

HTH: ‘Man’ accused of threatening Hilo gas station patrons with BB pistol

read … 108 inmates on Big Isle seek early release because of pandemic

Excellent News: Honolulu Homeless Sweeps To Resume

CB: … Honolulu will officially resume the clearing of homeless encampments next week to steer unsheltered people toward a quarantine tent program run by the police department, the mayor announced on Thursday….

With the recent opening of the Provisional Outdoor Screening and Triage program, or POST, the mayor said the city can continue with what he calls compassionate disruption.

“They endanger themselves and each other, and they endanger the broader population,” Caldwell said of unsheltered people who fail to keep the recommended social distance (and smoke meth)

Built at Keehi Lagoon Park, the POST program’s first “red zone” has been in lockdown since Sunday and will be quarantined for two weeks, according to Marc Alexander, Honolulu’s housing director.

There are 18 people there, 22 individuals in a second group, and two more cohorts being prepared, Alexander said. POST has a capacity of 80 and is designed for people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Homeless people who do and are awaiting test results may isolate at the city’s facility in Iwilei.

POST’s participants receive two meals a day and have access to bathrooms, showers, a pet kennel and storage for personal belongings. They are allowed to leave, but if they do, they can’t come back without starting from the beginning of the 15-day quarantine….

The mayor said he has received daily complaints about homeless people on the street not following public health advice during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“This is what happens where there is no enforcement,” he said.

That’s a faulty conclusion (insert excuse here) according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii.

Idea: Use Emergency Order to build 1,000 SROs out of plywood and 4x4s.  FORCE the homeless in to them.

read … Honolulu Homeless Sweeps To Resume

COVID Found at Wailuku Homeless Shelter

MN: … One homeless individual with Ka Hale A Ke Ola homeless resource center in Wailuku tested positive for COVID-19 after being treated at the hospital during the outbreak, the center’s director said Friday morning.

The COVID-19-positive man is doing well and is being isolated off site in a state Department of Health quarantine. The individual was alone in the center’s respite shelter and had limited contact with others, center executive director Monique Yamashita said Friday morning.

Yamashita said DOH recently contacted the man because he was a patient at Maui Memorial Medical Center when the cluster occurred. He was tested Tuesday and results came back positive Wednesday night.

State health officials Thursday reported that the hospital is now associated with 41 coronavirus cases.

A main cluster of 15 staff and eight patients started in mid-March. The cluster has triggered testing of about 300 staff and patients….

(41/300 = 14%)

A separate, unrelated individual at the center hasn’t been feeling well, is being tested for COVID-19 and also was moved to state DOH off-site quarantine. This person also had limited contact with others and results are pending on that test, Yamashita said.

Yamashita said eight staff who interacted with the two are in 14-day quarantine and are being tested for coronavirus. Another 20 staff at the center have been informed and may choose to get tested….

MN: Hospital cluster grows to 41

read … Wailuku homeless center’s COVID-19 case linked to hospital cluster

Homeless Flies in From Arizona, Outsmarts Airports Division, Arrested in Waimanalo After Posting Online Videos

HNN: … Honolulu Police have arrested a 37-year-old homeless woman from the mainland for violating the state’s 14-day quarantine for travelers.

Aarona Lopez arrived here from Phoenix on Monday. But instead abiding by the two-week quarantine, the aspiring social media comedian wound up in a tent village on Waimanalo Beach, angering nearby residents worried that she might be carrying the coronavirus.

(In America the homeless fly in airplanes, have electronic equipment, and internet access.  They produce videos.  Meditate on this for the next 60 minutes.)

“I think it was selfish and irresponsible of her," said Waimanalo Neighborhood Board member Kukana Kama-Toth.

Kama-Toth was among the many Windward residents who were tracking Lopez’s whereabouts on social media and urging police to arrest her.

“She traveled all over the place, undetected until it was brought to our attention, which puts the lives of our community members at risk," Kama-Toth said.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said she slipped through the cracks because she listed a Post Office Box instead of a real address for airport screeners, who didn’t check out the address.

“What should have happened is they should not have been allowed out of the airport and they should have been put back on a flight to the continent where this woman came from,” she said….

Because Lopez’s bail has been set at just $500, the mayor and others worry that she’ll be back living on the streets soon….

Google: Aarona Lopez

HNN: Woman arrested for breaking quarantine is sent back to mainland

PBN: 110 visitors arrived in Hawai'i on Thursday, April 16th

KITV: The woman's videos show she's been in communities from Waikiki to Waimanalo using the City Bus, and even stopping at a 7-Eleven.

read … Mainland woman arrested for allegedly violating 14-day quarantine

Tweekers Begin Looting Parts from Parked Rental Cars

MN: … An Avis rental car manager reported that the rim and tire that Line was trying to steal were valued at $475, according to police.

Police also reported finding a glass pipe containing methamphetamine in Line’s pocket, as well as a pill bottle containing a plastic bag with 5.42 grams of crystal methamphetamine.

Line was arrested after police officers organized a special operation in response to reports of property damage and parts being stolen from rental cars stored in areas around the airport…

Line is on probation after being sentenced in June for unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and third-degree promoting of a dangerous drug, Fujieda said.

He said Line also has four contempt-of-court convictions, “which shows that he allegedly does not follow court orders.”

“Allegedly, he does not follow community orders as well,” Fujieda said.

He said that if convicted, Line could face a mandatory minimum prison term of three years and four months as a repeat offender.

Line asked to be released on supervision, with Deputy Public Defender Marina Lowy-Gerstmar saying he has been employed for almost two years as a laborer and is married with three children.

“I honestly had no idea about not being able to go out at night,” Line said in court….

read … Soon to be released for Humanitarian Reasons

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