The Latest: 4 Deaths, 264 New Cases; Oahu To Remain In Tier 2; Rick Keene Joins HART As COO

Jan 8, 2021

Updated 1/8/21, 1:00 p.m.

Oʻahu will remain in the second phase of its reopening plan -- despite Thursday's 212 new reported cases for the island. 

In a written statement, Mayor Rick Blangiardi said the seven-day average for the island as of January 6, was 102 cases, with a positivity rate of 4.5%. But according to the city's averages (without inmates), Oahu averaged 88 cases, with a positivity rate of 4.2% during that time.

"While today's bump in cases is concerning, I'm confident that we will be able to move forward in a way that is calculated and based on science," Blangiardi said. 

"A surge in cases was anticipated by our health experts following the holiday season but it's what we do now that will determine how devastating an impact this will have on our island in the weeks and months to come."

The city's COVID-19 information call center (768-2489) remains open every day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except on holidays. Residents can also get more information about the city's COVID-19 response at

Rick Keene joins HART as Chief Operating Officer

Rick Keene has joined Honolulu's rail authority as its chief operating officer. 

Lori Kahikina, who was recently appointed as HART's interim executive director, announced the hiring yesterday in a written release. Keene will work closely with Kahikina, with a focus on HART's finance and real estate acquisitions.

"Rick brings a wealth of experience to the project that is very complementary to my strengths of construction, major project management and team building," Kahikina said. "

Keene has previously worked as a chief financial officer at both Bank of Hawaii and The Queens Health Systems before working for the Caldwell administration in 2017.

"I, and the HART Board, am pleased to have Lor and Rick lead HART during this challenging time for the project," said HART Board Chair Tobias Martyn.

"I truly believe they are the right people to sort through difficult issues with an exceptionally high level of integrity and transparency."

Where we stand

The state Department of Health reported 264 new cases and four new fatalities on Friday.

According to the state's numbers, Oʻahu had 202, Maui 22, Hawaiʻi County 10, Kauaʻi 3, Molokaʻi 2, and Lanai had none.

The latest state counts bring the Oʻahu total to 18,913, Hawaiʻi County, 1,974, Maui 1,197, Kauaʻi 157, Lanai 106, and Molokaʻi 25. The number of out-of-state cases totals 523 (25 new cases).

Since the pandemic began, the state has tallied 22,895 cases. The death toll stands at 303.