The Latest: 64 New Cases Reverse High Case Count With Asterisk; Harris' Win Recalls Mink's Firsts

Nov 9, 2020

Updated: 11/9/2020, 3:23 p.m.

After five days of triple-digit daily case counts, the state Department of Health reported 64 new cases today. The decline in the COVID-19 daily count comes with an asterisk. The smaller number comes on a Monday after a weekend when labs may not be reporting all of their results.

Tomorrow should better signal whether the state's plus-100 case counts are continuing, a trend that could force a retreat in reopening efforts, particularly on Oahu.

On Wednesday, 156 new cases were reported, followed by 100 on Thursday, 122 on Friday, 128 on Saturday and 128 on Sunday.

With today's numbers, Oahu has 53 new reported cases, Hawaii County 4, Kauai 2, Maui 0, Lanai 0, and Molokai 0. Five more cases were diagnosed out of state. Statewide cases reached 16,010 and deaths stood at 221.

Oahu has now had 13,862 cases, Hawaii County 1,409 cases, Maui island 425 cases, Lanai 106 cases, Kauai 73 cases and Molokai 17 cases. One hundred eighteen cases have been diagnosed out of state. One case was removed from the Oahu count based on updated information.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency warned on social media yesterday that the case count in recent days "brings our hospitals dangerously close to capacity. Gather only when necessary and wear a mask over both your nose and mouth."

COVID hospitalizations are increasing again after what had been a decline in late October. As of Friday, 75 people were hospitalized, an increase of 8.5%, according to the HIEMA COVID-19 dashboard. Use of ICU beds and ventilators for COVID patients are also on the upswing.

Harris historic selection recalls Hawaii's Patsy Mink

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris made history as the first woman and first woman of color to be elected to the second highest office in the country. Her victory builds on a long history of women who fought for representation in U.S. politics, including one of Hawaiʻi’s own.

In 1964, Hawaiʻi voters elected Patsy Mink to the U.S. House of Representatives, where she became the first woman of color and first Asian-American woman to serve in U.S. Congress.

This year, more than 63 percent of Hawaiʻi voters cast ballots for the Biden-Harris ticket.

Khara Jabola-Carolus, executive director of the state Commission on the Status of Women, says this is a historic moment for women of color across the country and here in Hawaiʻi.

"I think its a reminder of the proud history of womenʻs political leadership in Hawaiʻi. So, we’ve been ahead of the curve in terms of women of color representation at the federal level. But at the same time floors are not ceilings," she said.

"And we really need to be mindful that identity is not the same thing as a political stance and so representation needs to mean marginalized communities are actually being listened to and centered and that you know women in office are also pro-women."

She hopes the energy surrounding Harris’ win and the visibility it brings to women and women’s lives provides momentum for policy changes in local government.

--HPR's Ku'uwehi Hiraishi

Halloween may not have prooduced many COVID-19 cases

Hawaii residents appeared to have heeded the call of officials to stay safe during Halloween.

Gov. David Ige says he discussed the recent spike in COVID-19 cases with the state health director and they don't seem to be tied to large gatherings.

"I did speak with Dr. Libby Char about this recent increase in cases and they did not see any unusual activity. Again, it's individuals in private settings in their homes or small gatherings that led to increase clusters all across Oahu," he said. "And once again, you know, each individual has an impact on the number of cases. The more that we can wear our mask, maintain physical distancing, and wash our hands, the more under control the coronavirus will be."

It may be a few more days before any cases from the long voting lines at Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale on Election Day become known. According to the state Department of Health, the incubation period is two weeks, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says symptoms can appear as soon as two days after exposure.

There was a rush of in-person voters on the final day of voting. Many in the lines did not practice social distancing and some did not wear masks.

The department attributes most of the COVID-19 clusters to large gatherings and has produced an advertising campaign timed to the holidays reminding people to abide by safety measures, including avoiding big celebrations.

Meanwhile, Ige says his administration is still working on a bill for a statewide mask mandate. He says the legislation is complex and may require more time than can be dealt with in a special session this year.