The Latest: Hawaii Exceeds 15,000 Cases In Pandemic; Caldwell Seeks Surveillance Test Results

Oct 30, 2020

Updated: 10/30/2020, 12:26 p.m. Hawaii marked another milestone with an additional 94 new reported COVID-19 cases, pushing the statewide total in the pandemic to over 15,000 today.

Statewide, there was one new death reported by the Hawaii Department of Health. The latest count brings the total number of COVID cases during the pandemic to 15,003. The death toll now totals 216.

Oahu had 74 new cases, Hawaii Island 14, Lanai 2, Kauai County 1, Maui 3 and Molokai none. No new cases were diagnosed out of state. 

Oahu has now recorded 13,087 cases, Hawaii Island 1,259, Maui 407, Molokai 17, Lanai 99 and Kauai 64. Seventy cases have been diagnosed out of state. One case each from Hawaii County and Kauai County were deleted from the counts based on updated information.

COVID-19 infections on Lanai are slowing, the Hawaii Department of Health said yesterday.  

The island remains under a stay-at-home order after a coronavirus outbreak that the state says stemmed from large social gatherings and household transmission. Surge testing results from Saturday are still being reported out, the department said, so the numbers could rise.

Another round of drive-through surge testing is scheduled for tomorrow, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the old Dole Administration Building. Those who are uninsured should provide a photo I.D. to have the test covered. Maui County is encouraging residents to get tested even if they participated in the first surge testing.

To pre-register for the tests, call the Straub Medical Center-Lanai Clinic at 808-565-6423 or the Lanai Community Health Center at 808-565-6919.

Kalihi affordable housing project stirs concerns

A measure to exempt a planned affordable housing project in Kalihi from building fees is moving forward at the City Council.

But the council member who represents the district where the project will be developed expressed concerns about it at a special committee meeting yesterday.

The Hawaii Public Housing Authority wants to build the 800-unit rental complex on North School Street. The project would include retail commercial space and a new office building for the public housing authority.

A resolution before the council would exempt the project from certain fees, such as for wastewater facility and building permits.

Council member Joey Manahan expressed frustration with the plan.

"This project is leapfrogging what I feel are two very important projects that should be prioritized because of the squalid conditions that people are living in still – currently. But I feel like this project is moving forward because there’s an office renovation," Manahan said.

 

"That said, we’ve worked very hard since 2015 to improve the infrastructure – especially for the Mayor Wright development. The city has spent over $100 million for those sewer improvements, and, yet, that project is not moving forward. They’re asking exemptions on this, so why should we pay for that?"

 

The council will further review the project at its meeting next week.

--HPR's Casey Harlow

Caldwell wants surveillance testing data  

 

It's been over two weeks since the state let passengers from the U.S. mainland skip the travel quarantine if they tested negative for COVID-19.

 

The counties worried that some arrivals could still have the virus. So they set up secondary, post-arrival tests -- but not Oahu.

 

Mayor Kirk Caldwell passed on the second tests, saying he was assured the state would run a surveillance testing program.

 

It would show if a sampling of passengers was testing positive.

 

Caldwell says he has not received any data from the program.

 

"I've received absolutely no information, zero information, zero on what the results are for Oahu. I don't know how many tests have been done on Oahu. I don't know how they were done and where. I don't know what type of program it was, that was used," he said. "And I'm anxious to get that information.

 

"And I'm anxious to get it because we took risks opening up to visitors, and we based it on promises made, that we'd get this information. And I may be mistakenly thought we'd get it in real time."

 

Lt. Gov. Josh Green is in charge of the surveillance testing.

 

He said on his Instagram page that 6 people out of 9,323 tested positive in the surveillance program. That amounts to one in 1,553.

 

According to his spokeswoman, Green gave an update on the program to senior state and county leaders on Wednesday but that Caldwell was not there.

 

There have been clashes between Green and Caldwell. Both are

looking at runs for governor in 2022.

 

--HPR's Sandee Oshiro

 

Arizona correctional center completes Hawaii inmate testing

 

About 1,000 Hawaii inmates at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona completed testing for COVID-10 yesterday, the state Department of Public Safety said. Results are expected to take up to three days.

 

Hawaii inmates who have active cases and are in isolation at Saguaro currently number 61. Six are in the hospital. Those pending test results remain in a 14-day quarantine.

 

The mass testing follows the death of an Idaho inmate at the facility. The Idaho Statesman reported that the Idaho Department of Corrections said the man showed coronavirus-like symptoms, was taken to a medical center on Oct. 1 and died Oct. 17.

 

A Halawa Correctional Facility staffer who last worked on Monday tested positive. The public safety department said it is working with the state health department to conduct contact tracing at the facility.

 

Eleven Oahu Community Correctional Center inmates are in medical isolation with active cases of COVID. No inmates are hospitalized. 

 

The health department continues to conduct testing of OCCC inmates and staff following a mass outbreak that sickened about 400 inmates in recent months.