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etn Feature Article Hawaii Travel News International Visitor News Tourism News Travel Destination Travel News Travel Safety & Emergencies Travel Wire News USA Travel News

Dangerous COVID Spike and a Hurricane: Hawaii is facing grave challenges

Record COVID and a dangerous Hurricane: Hawaii facing challenges
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Governor Ige was speechless when asked about the record COVID-19 increase for Hawaii.

If a record number of 60 new cases of COVID-19 in the State of Hawaii is not a challenge already, category 3 Hurricane Douglas is on a direct path to the Aloha State. But it didn’t stop 2,600 people – both residents and visitors – from arriving in the state yesterday. A mandatory 14-day quarantine order is still in place for both visitors and residents, adding to the upcoming problem of the hurricane.

“Stay home when Douglas will pass over our shores. We will come out stronger, come out together, clean up together.” This was the message today by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

The Honolulu Mayor criticized the Hawaii Department of Health for not alerting the City about triggers before the increase in COVID-19 infections. Today, Hawaii registered the highest increase in new cases since the start of the pandemic. The number compared to all other states is still very low with 60+ cases, but it’s an alarming development for Hawaii, and specifically for the island of Oahu.

Governor Ige didn’t know how many shelter places are available and explained social distancing rules reduced the shelter space dramatically. He does have the power to take over hotels. There are plenty of hotel rooms available since the majority of the hotels are closed due to the coronavirus restrictions. The State would rather negotiate with hotels instead of forcing them to open their doors for shelter space.

The Mayor asked, can we handle 60 COVID-19 cases without closing up again? He indicated that a red line indicating the need to stop is close, as he has ordered gyms to require customers to always wear masks and bars to close at midnight. He said the current challenges can only be managed together.

With Hurricane Douglas on a direct path to the State of Hawaii, the Mayor said staying at home is the best way to observe social distancing, the safest way to force the spread of COVID-19 to slow down, and the best way to protect during the upcoming storm.

The city is prepared and all players from the Red Cross, Ocean Safety, Honolulu Fire Department, and Police Department are working together. The city information line will be open from 7 am to 7 pm as well as on Saturday and Sunday to assist. The number for the information line is 768-CITY or go to honolulu.gov/den

Hotels are considered to provide shelter places in Honolulu. There are plenty of large empty hotels and resorts available. Such negotiations are up to the Health Department.

Residents are urged to have a 14-day supply of food and water, and everyone should be prepared to take supplies to emergency centers if necessary in a clean container. Everyone should have emergency power like batteries available for 2 weeks.

The Mayor urged to consider going to shelters only if it’s not safe at home and if there are no friends or family available to take you in.  The best way to handle the storm is to stay at home. Residents should expect potential wind damage to homes, roofs, windows, and trees as well as heavy rain, flooding, and high surf.

The Honolulu Fire Department chief said, “If we need to evacuate, remain calm and please cooperate with instructions provided.” He assured that the Fire Department will respond until it becomes too dangerous to do so.

The Red Cross is asking for volunteers and donations. The Hawaii Red Cross can be reached at 808-739-8122 or redress.org/hawaii

The Police Chief asked that people only use 911 for true emergencies and urged everyone to stay off the road and out of the water.  Lifeguards will go on mobile operations and monitor beaches remotely.

There will not be trash collections on Sunday and Monday, and most likely TheBus and Handivans will not operate on those days as well.

“It has been a tough year. We are city employees. We have the incredible privilege of job security,” said the Emergency Room Chief.

Governor Ige in a separate press conference assured FEMA is ready to assist. The Governor refused to respond to questions from a reporter about the increase in COVID-19 infections and refused to answer questions from eTurboNews altogether.