The Latest: 2 Deaths, 123 New Cases; Gov. Ige Approves Maui Bar Closures

Dec 10, 2020

Updated 12/10/20, 11:56 a.m.

The state Department of Health reported 123 new cases and two additional fatalities today.

According to the state's numbers, Oʻahu had 79 new cases, Maui 11, Hawaiʻi County 24, Kauaʻi 2, and Lanai and Molokaʻi had none.

The latest state counts bring the Oʻahu total to 16,003, Hawaiʻi County, 1,688, Maui 644, Kauaʻi 123, Lanai 106 and Molokaʻi 22. The number of out-of-state cases totals 278.

Since the pandemic began, the state has tallied 18,864 cases. The death toll stands at 268.

Ige approve bar closures in Maui County

Governor David Ige has approved Mayor Michael Victorino's request to temporarily shut down bars and bar areas in restaurants throughout the county. The closure will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, December 12, and go through Saturday, December 26.

This comes after several consecutive days of double-digit new COVID-19 cases in Maui County. 

"The Maui District Health Office reported that numerous positive cases are tied to close interactions among patrons in bar settings," Victorino said.

Victorino's request would require bars with certified commercial kitchens to close off the counter, but still allow food and alcoholic beverage service to patrons.

Under a recent change to Maui County rules, patrons are required to wear face coverings while inside bars and restaurants exept when they are "actively eating or drinking."

"This is an initial step. We will continue to closely monitor daily case counts, identify sources of spread and take further action as necessary to protect the health and safety of our residents," Victorino said. 

First COVID-19 case in Kalawao County

The state Department of Health is reporting an adult resident of Kalaupapa Settlement is the first positive COVID-19 case in Kalawao County on Molokaʻi. The individual received the positive result after returning on a local flight to the settlement. They did not present any symptoms.

The DOH immediately conducted contact tracing, and close contacts on the same flight are in self-quarantine.

Located on the north shore of Molokaʻi, Kalawao is a county under the management of the DOH, and was reported to be the last county in the U.S. with no reported COVID-19 cases until today.

Honolulu's transportation fare increase advances

A proposal to amend the fare structure of Honolulu's public transit is moving forward with a few changes.

The Honolulu City Council discussed Bill 89 Wednesday during its last meeting of teh year.

Along with issuing the city's new payment card, the measure would also raise bus fares by 25 cents for most riders, and set the same fare for the rail. The council amended the bill to include a new classification for low-income riders -- with a reduced price.

But there were concerns those lower prices will hurt revenues -- at a time when the city faces a projected shortfall in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

"Based on our projectsion, that are fairly conservative, 21,000 people might be eligible and want to seek that fare," said Dre Kalili, deputy director of the city's department of transportation services. 

"And if you translate those numbers, it's many millions of dollars potential revenue loss."

Kalili suggested a cap for how many low-income riders may help the city mitigate huge revenue loss, and give the Council a better idea of how many people will take advantage of the lower fare.

"As the economic climate changes, the council could then adjust."

The council amended the bill -- which will be discussed further next month by a new Council.

-- HPR's Casey Harlow