Hawaii is reinstating its 14-day interisland travel quarantine amid a new surge in coronavirus cases, effective August 11.
“This is the last thing that we wanted to do,” Gov. David Ige said during a news conference Thursday. “We have endured several months- all of us here, all across this state- of restrictions and had been successful in managing the virus and keeping the counts low. But as we reopened our community, people let their guard down.”
State Health Director Bruce Anderson said that the state saw “at least” 200 new coronavirus infections Thursday.
“We are approaching a health care crisis and bold measures are needed now,” Anderson said, adding that at least 117 coronavirus patients are hospitalized in Hawaii and 53% of ICU beds are filled.
He noted there is a delay in the exact number of reported cases due to a problem with the department’s electronic record system.
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In addition, Oahu mayor Kirk Caldwell announced that all city and county parks and beaches will be closed beginning Friday as part of a new order to crack down on large gatherings.
The order will also close campgrounds, botanical gardens, private and public pools and tennis courts. As a result of the order, team sports will also be suspended through September 5.
Meanwhile, private and public golf courses will remain open but will roll back to phase one and fitness centers will remain open but group classes will not be allowed. As for restaurants, kitchen staff will be required to wear a mask.
Ige added the state is “monitoring the situation” in regard to reopening schools.
The Honolulu Police Department has also set up a COVID-enforcement team and hotline, which will be staffed with 160 police officers and will start service on Sunday, August 9, at 10 a.m. to respond to complaints.
There also will be an additional 160 officers island-wide conducting “strategic enforcement.”
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As of Thursday afternoon, Hawaii’s health department reported 2,815 total coronavirus cases in the state, with 223 people hospitalized and 29 deaths.
According to the latest update from Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 4.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, with more than 1.5 million Americans who have recovered and more than 159,000 Americans who have died.