The Latest Developments: As of Tuesday, 14 cases of the coronavirus known as COVID-19 were confirmed in the islands. The latest four cases included two on Oahu, one on Hawaii island and one on Maui. Health department officials say they are gathering more information about how the people may have been infected.
But that may just be the start of the pandemic in Hawaii. On Tuesday, The New York Times published an internal report from the Department of Health and Human Services that outlines a plan based on the assumption that the pandemic could last more than 18 months, and illness could afflict the global population in waves.
Hawaii continued to take steps to prevent community transmission. On Tuesday, Gov. David Ige urged bars and clubs to close and for restaurants to switch to take-out meals rather than sit-down service. He also asked churches to suspend their services and activities.
The Hawaii Department of Public Safety Sheriff Division followed a move that has already been implemented in other states: suspending all evictions.
Separately, Ige is discussing with the private sector extending benefits to employees who aren’t at work, halting evictions for inability to pay rent and halting foreclosures.
Meanwhile, Punahou Schools made plans to shift to “distance learning” at the end of the month, and Hawaiian Airlines suspended its flights to Sapporo, Japan, among others.
Questions And Answers: Here are more answers Civil Beat found in response to concerns you sent us.
If I have COVID-19, will I infect my pets?
While coronaviruses are a family of viruses that sometimes infect animals and can become able to infect people as COVID-19 has done, the CDC says there is currently no evidence that pets or other companion animals can spread COVID-19. Until further notice, feel free to snuggle up with your support animal during self-quarantine.
How many tests has Hawaii actually conducted?
Testing for the coronavirus has ramped up now that private laboratories and hospitals across the state are offering testing with a physician’s referral.
The Hawaii Department of Health said Tuesday it received more than 650 specimens from the Clinical Labs of Hawaii and Diagnostic Laboratory Services. The Hawaii State Laboratories Division has tested 93 other cases that have been negative, and a dozen more results were pending as of Tuesday.
“We’re looking at clinical commercial lab testing and we’re getting positive hits on those, so we know that their capacity has increased,” said Dr. Sarah Park, the Hawaii state epidemiologist, in a call with the press Tuesday afternoon. “However it is important for everyone to understand that people with mild illness need to stay home and not come to testing sites to potentially expose themselves to people who are positive.”
Of the nearly 750 tests conducted in Hawaii to date by both private and state labs, 14 have resulted in positive COVID-19 diagnoses, but expect to see that number continue to rise.
I know you said I need a physician referral, but where can I get screened?
The state health department has published a list of all screening sites, but you should review the following DOH guidance before making the trip:
How The Coronavirus Has Changed Your Behavior: We also asked people what they’ve been doing differently since hearing about the virus. Here are a few things they’ve told us:
• “Not going to our church, rarely missed a service in 20+ years. Not visiting our grandkids! Stopped swimming at Manoa Pool, stopped going out to eat as much. Doing our best to social distance.”
• “Remote Socializing.”
• “I’m retired so haven’t been impacted as much as those working in restaurants and stores relying on tourists. This is opportunity to seriously invest in alternative economic engines.”
We have many more questions to answer so stay tuned for similar posts each day. Meanwhile, use the form below to ask us anything and tell us what, if anything, you’re doing differently to avoid getting sick.
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