Update: Lānaʻi Lockdown Sought As COVID-19 Cases Multiply To 65

Oct 23, 2020

Updated: 10/23/2020. 7:30 p.m.

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino has asked the governor to lock down Lanai to travel and order residents to stay at home beginning Tuesday after the number of COVID-19 cases on the island spiked to 65 today. Lanai has a population of about 3,000.

The mayor said the lockdown is being delayed until Tuesday to allow essential workers to complete their work and tourists to finish their visits before the island is shut down to travel.

The lockdown, once approved, would run initially for two weeks.

"So this is going to be right now for two weeks, for 14 days. However, if things don't improve, we can extend it just like what Oahu was doing. They kept extending it until we know they got their numbers to a safe level," the mayor said.

Officials are urging Lānaʻi residents to shelter-in-place as the number of COVID-19 cases on the island continues to rise.

After months of remaining COVID free, the island of Lānaʻi reported its first confirmed case on Tuesday. 

Local health authorities say a majority of the cases come from multi-family households and that most are asymptomatic. 

Lānaʻi resident Sol Kahoʻohalahala says he was shocked by the news. He and his family spent the entire pandemic following strict COVID-prevention practices. 

He’s convinced the reopening of interisland travel in Maui County paired with the reopening of tourism statewide is to blame, although the state Department of Health's contact tracing and investigation continues.

"As a result of that well-intended need to somehow allow people to interact and businesses to start again that the result is that now we have an island that has been COVID-free that is now infected," he said.

"Itʻs unfortunate that weʻre talking about what couldʻve been or shouldʻve been and now weʻre no different than other places that are challenged with this infection within their families and communities. My only hope is that these families will not suffer the kinds of consequences this pandemic has brought to many families throughout the world." 

A major concern is the island's limited health care capacity. Those needing high levels of medical treatment and hospitalization are flown to Maui.

Victorino said he traveled to Lānaʻi today and saw sanitation crews there to disinfect areas where there may be transmission of the virus.

He said he talked to Gov. David Ige and expects to get approval for the lockdown over the weekend. The mayor urged Lanai residents to take precautions, wear their masks, avoid gatherings and practice social distancing.

A virtual communuty meeting is scheduled tonight at 6. The Hawaii National Guard will be presenting health information for the community, according to a news release from the mayor. 

The meeting can be accessed on ZOOM at the meeting link https://bit.ly/3ol3EoH

Mass testing on the island is scheduled for tomorrrow, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the old Dole Administration Building. Testing is by appointment only and can be made by calling the Lanai Community Health at 808-565-6919 or the Straub Medical Center's Lanai Clinic at 808-565-6423.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story included a picture other than Lanai. HPR regrets the error.