The Latest: 0 Deaths, 81 New Cases; Infected Resident Quarantine Reduced to 10 Days

Dec 7, 2020

Updated: 12/7/2020, 3:40 p.m.

The state Department of Health reported 0 deaths and 81 new COVID-19 cases today.

According to the state numbers, Oahu had 58 new cases, Maui County 12, Hawaii County 7, and Kauai 3. Lanai and Molokai had none. Three more were diagnosed out of state.

The latest state counts bring the Oahu total to 15,840, Hawaii County, 1,647, Maui 612, Kauai 119, Lanai 106 and Molokai 18. The number of out-of-state cases totals 264.

Since the pandemic began, the state has tallied 18,608 cases. The death toll stands at 256.

Infected Resident Quarantine Reduced to 10 Days

The amount of time Hawaii residents who were exposed to COVID-19 are required to quarantine was reduced Monday, from 14 days to 10 days according to an announcement from the state department of health.

The announcement reflects changes from the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The reduction in time intended to make it more feasible for people to comply with the quarantine. The full 14-day period was deemed to increase physical and mental health issues as well as economic hardship on those who could not work from home.

The shortened quarantine does not apply to those who have traveled to Hawaii without a negative pre-test or those in congregate settings such as long-term care facilities or correctional facilities.

Interim State Epidemiologist Sarah Kemble emphasized that the guidance does not affect the incubation time of the virus, which is still 14 days.

“This changes the quarantine guidance, but not the incubation period of the virus, the virus decides that we don't get to decide so through day 14, we're still reminding people they need to be symptom monitoring,” she said.

“If they're sick, all bets are off, they’re back into isolation. They also must wear a mask and follow strict precautions during the remainder of that 14 days.”

-- HPR’s Ashley Mizuo

Honolulu Council to discuss measure for special legislative session

Honolulu council members will consider a measure urging the state legislature to hold a special session – to amend the state’s law on emergency order violations.

Under the current law, anyone violating an emergency order faces a misdemeanor charge. That carries a fine of up to $5,000, a sentence of up to a year in prison, and a permanent record.

Council Chair Emeritus Ron Menor is introducing a resolution urging the legislature to amend the law. He calls the punishment too severe for some violations – and says a civil infraction option would be better.

"If we were to go the civil route. Then, in effect, we would treat violations of the emergency orders like civil traffic and parking infractions where police officers issue traffic citations," Menor said.

"So under this sort of system – it would allow for individuals to be civilly sighted. They would immediately admit, or deny the citation. If they admit the citation and they just simply pay a fine and that’s it – they move on and hopefully not violate the law again. Or if they deny it, and they would be entitled to an appearance before the judge."

Menor says changing this model would allow violators to avoid a court appearance and criminal liabilities.

The City Council will discuss Menor’s measure Wednesday during its monthly meeting.

--HPR's Casey Harlow