The Latest Developments: 

On Monday, Hawaii officials reported the first death from the disease.

And the state saw the largest jump in its COVID-19 case count to date — 21 new cases, taking the total to 77.  Only four of those patients are currently hospitalized.

Gov. David Ige issued a stay-at-home mandate for the entire state that is set to begin Wednesday and is scheduled to stay in effect until April 30. The move followed similar county shelter-in-place mandates enacted by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino.

“The threat of COVID-19 is unprecedented and requires aggressive action,” said Ige.

Governor David Ige announces 14 day quarantine for all incoming visitors to hawaii at press conference addressing Coronavirus concerns.
Gov. David Ige updated Hawaii’s state of emergency to include a stay-at-home mandate for Hawaii residents on Monday.  Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

Honolulu City Council members Ikaika Anderson and Kimberly Pine also called on hotels to close. Ko Olina Resorts has already closed its hotels and facilities. In an open letter to hotel leaders, hotel executives pointed to hotel closures in Miami, San Diego and Chicago and requested Hawaii hotel officials do the same.

“In addition, we ask that you work together to offer several Waikiki hotels that would be closed for potential hospital and quarantine use,” they wrote. “These hotels could be refurbished for these uses by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.”

A scientist and his team at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine are working with a mainland pharmaceutical company to develop a vaccine to fight the coronavirus. Axel Lehrer, an assistant professor, is leading a team of researchers working in conjunction with New Jersey-based Soligenix.

Lehrer and his team in the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology previously led efforts at UH to find a vaccine for ebola.

Questions And Answers: Here are more answers Civil Beat found in response to concerns you sent us.

Who is exempt from the stay-at-home rule? 

You’re still allowed to buy groceries, go to court in some cases, travel to work, exercise and walk your pet, among other things.

If you do any of the following work, your job is considered essential and you are exempt from the stay-at-home mandate:

Healthcare facilities, grocery stores, pharmacies, schools, food service establishments, cannabis producers, organizations that provide charitable services such as food banks, media, gas stations, banks, hardware stores, shipping companies, post offices, laundromats, business supply stores, transportation companies, home based care services, elderly homes, child care services, labor unions, hotels, mortuaries, government functions, construction, plumbers, electricians, janitors, movers, engineers, legal and accounting firms and insurance companies.

Does Hawaii’s humidity prevent the transmission of COVID-19?

Not necessarily. The World Health Organization says the virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates.

Regardless of the weather outside, health experts maintain the best way to protect yourself is by washing your hands frequently and disinfecting the items you use most.

We have many more questions to answer so stay tuned for similar posts. 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.)

An Important Note

If you consider nonprofit, independent news to be an essential service that helps keep our community informed, please include Civil Beat among your year-end contributions.

And for those who can, consider supporting us with a monthly gift, which helps keep our content free for those who need it most.

This year, we are making it our goal to raise $225,000 in reader support by December 31, to support our news coverage statewide and throughout the Pacific. Are you ready to help us continue this work?

About the Author