Thursday, April 22, 2021

Hospitals could mandate coronavirus vaccinations for employees, state has lowest COVID-19 rate in nation, DOD expected to deny funding for Hawaii missile defense, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

A hospital in Hawaii

Hawaii's Hospitals Could Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine for Employees. Hilton Raethel, President and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii says he was "disappointed" that more than thirty percent of hospital employees did not want to receive a COVID-19 vaccine according to an internal survey they conducted earlier this year.  KITV4.

Hawaii has nation’s lowest COVID-19 case rate, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows. The state’s rate of new cases over the past seven days — 39.1 cases per 100,000 population — edged California’s at 40.4 and was far lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3. Michigan fared the worst at 483 cases per 100,000 residents, the CDC data showed. Star-Advertiser.

Economists: Hawaii could reach herd immunity by July. Hawaii could approach herd immunity from COVID-19 by early July if the rate of vaccinations remains consistent, economists with the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization predict. Tribune-Herald.

As state prepares to roll out inter-island vaccine passport, some learn they won’t qualify. The state said that’s because their system can only verify vaccinations given in Hawaii ― at least for now. Hawaii News Now.

Travel demand for Hawaii is continuing to rise among U.S. visitors. Occupancy at Hawaii hotels rose to 43% in March, up from about 31% in February and 23% in January, according to data from Nashville-based STR released Wednesday. It was Hawaii’s highest statewide occupancy in the last 11 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Why are visitors cruising around in U-Hauls?
Blame the pandemic. Another pandemic ripple effect is the high cost of rental cars. As the state reopens and many tourists come back — there are not enough rental cars to meet the demand. Hawaii News Now.

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House Speaker Expects Pay Raises For Lawmakers Will Be Deferred. But the House and Senate haven’t yet reached a formal agreement to delay raises for judges, cabinet members and the Legislature. Civil Beat.

The Minimum Wage Bill Still Alive At The Hawaii Legislature. Senate Bill 793 would repeal the exemption of individuals with disabilities from minimum wage requirements. Civil Beat.

Automatic Voter Registration Bill Nears Final Approval. A measure that advocates say will make it easier than ever to register to vote in Hawaii cleared a key hurdle Wednesday at the state Legislature. Civil Beat.

Bail Reform Stalls In Hawaii Legislature. But lawmakers reached agreement Wednesday on a bill to limit the governor’s emergency powers. Civil Beat.

Tougher penalties could be on the way for extreme DUI convictions. Although the measure to lower blood alcohol content to 0.05 stalled, another bill to crack down on extremely intoxicated drivers is still alive. Hawaii News Now.

Pentagon expected to deny funding for Hawaii radar.
For the second year in a row, the Defense Department is reportedly planning to zero out funding for the $1.9 billion Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii — a move that could represent a death knell for the costly radar that’s now seen as less of a priority among evolving missile threats and competing demands. Star-Advertiser.

April 21, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 73 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Wednesday, including 45 on O‘ahu, 15 on Maui, six on Hawai‘i Island, three on Kaua‘i, one on Moloka‘i, and three in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed while out of state. Maui Now.

Oahu

Commissioners unsatisfied with Honolulu Police Department refusal to release shooting video. Two Honolulu police commissioners — including one who was state attorney general — are dissatisfied with the Honolulu Police Department’s refusal to release body camera footage from a fatal confrontation with Iremamber Sykap, 16, who was shot and killed this month following a series of alleged crimes that involved a police pursuit and a car careening into a canal. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Oahu's vehicle 'recon' inspection program close to shutting down. Starting next year, more lifted trucks, dropped cars, and other modified vehicles could be back on Oahu's roads. KITV4.

City Council Considering Handi-Van Fare Increase. The City Council’s budget committee passed Bill 87 (2020) Wednesday with some modifications. It proposes raising the fare by 25 cents to $2.25 starting next year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Health Department Orders Hauula Assisted Living Facility To Close. The state Department of Health has revoked the license of a Hauula assisted living facility, informing the facility that it must shut down by the end of the month — a move that left the fate of dozens of residents in limbo. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Now hiring: Employers struggle to find new workers. Job advertisements aren’t hard to find on the Big Island. Tougher to find, as businesses are discovering with the rebound of tourism, are workers to fill the plethora of available positions. West Hawaii Today.

No-trailers policy at transfer stations draws criticism. Trailers will continue to be banned at county transfer stations for safety reasons, despite complaints from residents and county officials. Tribune-Herald.

Community support propels PONC purchases. An hour and a half of impassioned testimony extolling the importance of saving West Hawaii shoreline and preserving Hawaiian culture ended Tuesday with the County Council Finance Committee unanimously forwarding four prospective land purchases to the council for a final vote. West Hawaii Today.

Resolution passes lava zone insurance matter to state commissioner. A County Council resolution seeks the aid of the state insurance commissioner to reduce home insurance costs in Puna. Tribune-Herald.

Improper stacking from a Young Brothers barge led to loss of shipping containers in waters off Hilo Bay. Twenty-one shipping containers were improperly stacked when they toppled into the ocean from a Young Brothers barge near Hilo Bay on June 22, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a recently released report. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Maui

Three People Arrested on Maui in Separate Incidents for Alleged Violations of COVID-19 Rules.  The incidents involved: a Pennsylvania man who allegedly refused to wear a face mask; an Oʻahu man who did not have a negative pre-travel test or secured lodging in which to complete the state’s mandatory 10-day travel quarantine; and a California man with an outstanding warrant who is accused of violating the state’s rules and orders related to quarantine. Maui Now.

Mayor vetoes affordable housing bill. Saying a new affordable housing bill will only intensify housing scarcity for Maui County, Mayor Michael Victorino vetoed the measure on Monday. Maui News.

Kauai

Council approves Waipouli land condemnation. Wednesday, the Kaua‘i County Council decided to move forward with the condemnation of land between the Island on the Beach Resort and ocean, ensuring another section of the Ke Ala Hele Makalae shared-use coastal path can be completed in Waipouli. Garden Island.

Hawaii officials say Lehua Island, a state bird sanctuary, is rat-free. State officials today declared Lehua Island rat-free following years of eradication efforts. The rats, an invasive species, wreaked havoc on the state seabird sanctuary for decades by preying on the eggs and chicks of native birds. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. Garden Island.

California variant on Kaua‘i. The COVID-19 variant known as the “California variant” was confirmed on the island Wednesday by the state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office. Garden Island. Maui Now. KHON2.

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