Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Ige cautious about loosening travel rules in light of mainland COVID-19 cases, union education critic wants top superintendent job, most Hawaii residents in poll want vaccine, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Gov. David Ige says coronavirus infections are elevated and he won’t change mask and travel rules now. Gov. David Ige said he is concerned that recent COVID cases appear to be stuck at an elevated level and doesn’t expect to ease restrictions to the state’s mask mandate or travel entry requirements soon. Star-Advertiser.

Lack of herd immunity on the mainland could extend Safe Travels program.  Getting herd immunity on the mainland was once seen as a key to reviving Hawaii’s tourism economy. But with vaccination rates slipping in the U.S., scientist and medical experts think that’s now an unreachable goal, forcing state officials to extend Hawaii’s Safe Travels program. Hawaii News Now.

A week before scheduled launch, state, county officials ironing out plans for vaccine passport program. The Department of Transportation said the screening process at airports will be different from island to island -- and it appears some may be further ahead than others. KITV4.

Ige Rules Out Vaccine Passports For Trans-Pacific Travelers For Now. The governor also said Hawaii’s decision to maintain mask mandates isn’t inconsistent with CDC guidance. Civil Beat.

Gov. Ige mulls vaccination mandate.
Gov. David Ige said he has considered requiring state employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but has no definite plans to impose such a mandate. Tribune-Herald.

Civil Beat/HNN Poll: Most People Surveyed In Hawaii Say They Will Get Vaccinated. Only 12% say they have chosen not to be immunized for COVID-19. There is also support for vaccine passports and employer mandates. Civil Beat.

Fear Of Side Effects, Government Mistrust Among Reasons For Vaccine Hesitancy. Health authorities fear a wane in demand for COVID-19 vaccines could jeopardize Hawaii’s ability to achieve mass immunity needed to stamp out the disease. Civil Beat.

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Marines in Hawaii restructure to deter China. The radical restructuring of the Marine Corps in Hawaii to better deter China in the western Pacific includes the planned removal of all 16 tanklike amphibious vehicles and elimination of all cannon artillery. Star-Advertiser.

Head Of Hawaii’s Teachers’ Union Is Vying To Be Interim Superintendent.
The leader of the teachers union, who leveled strong criticism against Superintendent Christina Kishimoto over her leadership of the public school system during the COVID-19 pandemic, is now vying for her job after she announced she won’t seek a new term. Civil Beat.

While the class of 2021 will not have completely "normal" graduations, many high schools will hold in-person ceremonies with only students or limited guest attendance, the Department of Education announced Monday. Hawaii Public Radio. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

May 3, 2021 COVID-19 Update: 74 Cases (49 O‘ahu, 11 Maui, 4 Hawai‘i Island, 7 Kaua‘i, 3 Out-of-State); 1 Death on Maui. Maui Now.

Oahu

Following huge response, city closes application portal for aid program after just 20 minutes. A federally-funded program for Oahu residents who need help covering rent, utility and other bills stopped taking applications 20 minutes after coming online Monday afternoon because of tremendous demand. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approves Kapolei Energy Storage project, with conditions. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has approved a major energy storage project in Kapolei to ensure that the lights stay on when Oahu’s coal power plant retires in fall 2022. Star-Advertiser.

McCully neighborhood selected for city pilot project called ‘Shared Streets’. The city has selected Waiola and Hauoli streets for this pilot. KHON2.

UH Hosting International Esport Tournament Is 'Major Milestone' For The University And State. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is a host site for the Overwatch League's East vs. West tournament this week. This is the first time a mainstream international esports tournament is being held in the state, and it could help launch a major economic opportunity for Hawaiʻi. Hawaii Public Radio.

Keawaula gates to be reopened weekends only, for now. Although the beach and trail reopened in September, the gates remained closed in an effort to discourage large, unruly gatherings, bonfires, overnight camping, vandalism and other illegal behavior in the remote areas, which together with Makua Beach lie within Kaena Point State Park at the end of Farrington Highway, and because there has been no funding for more than a part-time park caretaker and part-time contract lifeguards. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Fewer food drops ahead: The Food Basket says they are not sustainable at the current frequency. Fewer food drops ahead: The Food Basket says they are not sustainable at the current frequency. Tribune-Herald.

Puna Strong grant recipients named. Nearly 30 organizations were named Monday as recipients of a $380,000 award through the Puna Strong grants program. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Maui

Leader of cult that caused COVID-19 huff on Maui found mummified in Colorado home. Authorities have arrested several people after the mummified body of the leader of the spiritual group “Love Has Won” was found wrapped in a sleeping bag and decorated with Christmas lights in a southern Colorado home. Associated Press.

State officials aim to move parts of Maui road inland as seas rise. Hawaii officials have proposed moving parts of a Maui coastal highway that experts say are among the roads most vulnerable to erosion and rising sea levels in the state, but some community members say the plan doesn’t go far enough. Associated Press.

Struggling with declining business, Maui’s largest mall faces foreclosure. Queen Kaahumanu Center hasn’t been seeing much foot traffic lately and many shops are vacant. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Land & Pineapple Co. sells utilities after first-quarter loss. The company announced Monday that it sold two subsidiaries operating water systems at Kapalua Resort. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

Still no change in tier status for Kauai, but rising COVID counts may alter that. Kauai is now on track to reinstate Tier 3 restrictions this week, which would mean smaller crowd sizes, and a pause on organized sports, but that is if the county sticks to the tier rules. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai sees spike in COVID-19 cases following relaxed travel restrictions. The small island has weathered the pandemic remarkably well with low case numbers and just two deaths. But health officials say loosened travel restrictions, the introduction of more transmissible variants and a growing laxness among the community is likely contributing to the rapid rise in cases. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 testing at all-time high on Kauai to curb community spread. Demand for COVID-19 testing is at an all-time high on Kauai where case numbers are expected to increase after four locations were linked to positive cases. KHON2.

Mass testing, quarantine at KCCC. A Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center employee has tested positive for COVID-19, a result which has meant a suspension of inmate movement and mass testing at the facility, the state Department of Public Safety announced Monday morning. Garden Island.

Visitors turned away at Ha‘ena. Employees have turned away over 700 cars the past two Sundays at Ha‘ena State Park. Garden Island.

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