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.

Gov. David Ige called for closures of bars and asked restaurants to limit service. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

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.

State Microbiologist Mark Nagata gives a demonstration of extracting Nucleic acid at the Department of Health, Public Health and Environmental Laboratories located at Waimano Home Road.
State Microbiologist Mark Nagata gives a demonstration of COVID-19 testing from a mock specimen at the Hawaii State Laboratories Division. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

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:

  • First, contact your healthcare provider in advance to determine if you need to have an in-person visit with your provider. Your provider will determine over the phone whether you meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing.
  • If your provider directs you to come in for a screening, bring a photo ID and insurance card.
  • Your provider will take a swab for testing. The specimen will be sent to a private or state lab for the results. During this time, you are expected to self-quarantine at home until the test results are available, which could be up to 3 to 4 days.
  • If you are healthy or experiencing mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, DOH urges you to stay at home and avoid an unnecessary visit to a screening site. The screening sites are only for those who are severely ill with COVID-19 symptoms.
Jay Nordyke holds his shirt over his face wil standing in line with his dad, Thomas Nordyke in the parking lot of Sams Club. The lines snaked from the entrance all the way to the far side of the parking lot.
Jay Nordyke held his shirt over his face while in line at Sam’s Club on Tuesday. State officials urged Hawaii residents to not hoard supplies or food, as shipments are still scheduled on a regular basis to the islands. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

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.

Coronavirus Survey

Please fill out this form to let us know your most pressing questions about COVID-19 and any practices or changes in lifestyle you've made because of it.

  • (We won't publish any responses without your permission.)

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