Monday, May 4, 2020

Hawaii House committee to plan reopening state, Health Department apologizes for director's remarks about Marshallese COVID-19 victims, airlines require face masks, limit routes, UPW chief ousted, Waikiki bartender awakes from coma, posts selfie, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Anderson from Facebook Live
House Select Committee on COVID-19 discusses reopening Hawaii and more. How should Hawaii reopen? What do retailers and restaurants think? What's happening with unemployment? These and more, at the House committee meeting. The next House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness briefing will cover federal funding programs to support nonprofit groups, farmers, consumers and other relief programs at 10 a.m. Monday, May 4. KITV4.

DOH apologizes for director’s comments about race and ethnicity. The state Department of Health on Friday apologized for comments its director made about race and ethnicity while discussing the recent cluster of COVID-19 cases associated with McDonald’s restaurants in Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Native Hawaiians Are Losing Out On Millions Of COVID-19 Dollars. Native Hawaiians do not have a centralized government formally recognized by the federal government. An ongoing battle over $8 billion in federal coronavirus relief money for America’s indigenous people is missing a key participant — Native Hawaiians. Civil Beat.


As new coronavirus cases dwindle, the state looks at a ‘phase-in’ approach to reopening. With car washes and golf courses open on Oahu, state and county leaders are now talking about how to phase-in the reopening of other businesses in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Reshaping Hawaii’s Economy For A Post-Pandemic World. Hawaii’s long-term economic plan is a blank slate by design to be filled in by an ensemble cast, says Alan Oshima, Hawaii’s economic recovery chief. Civil Beat.


Hawaii lawmakers push for tightened quarantine as visitor numbers climb. The number of visitors arriving in Hawaii increased Friday to the largest count since the state’s 14-day quarantine began in late March as Hawaii lawmakers strive to improve the passenger quarantine before tourism reopens. Star-Advertiser.

Arriving visitors climb past 5,000 since quarantine began. The number visitors arriving in Hawaii since the beginning of the state’s mandatory 2-week quarantine for travelers topped 5,000 on Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

330 Arrivals Referred to Law Enforcement, 27 Visitors Forced to Leave for Quarantine Violations. Representatives from the Department of Transportation and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority provided the committee with updates on traveler quarantine procedures during a Hawai‘i State Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 meeting held on Thursday, April 30. Maui Now.

Travel to Hawaii will be filled with new safety measures in a COVID-19 world. Safe travels will take on a whole new meaning as tourism begins to recover in a COVID-19 world. Star-Advertiser.

From visitors to ‘intended residents,' arrivals are slowly rising. There are early indications Hawaii’s arrivals by air are on the upswing. Even with most shops and hotels closed, Hawaii could soon see more visitor arrivals in the coming weeks as mainland states and other countries ease COVID-19 restrictions. Hawaii News Now.


US DOT approves United, American request to temporarily suspend neighbor island travel. With empty planes and a mandatory 14-day quarantine in place, flights to Hawaii have been virtually empty. KHON2.

Hawaiian Airlines To Require Passengers To Wear Face Masks. Hawaiian Airlines has announced enhanced policy changes requiring travelers to cover their faces with masks or cloths to combat the spread of COVID-19. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiian Airlines To Require Face Masks, Spacing For Passengers. The airline, which has already been manually assigning seats to increase personal space onboard, will put the new measures into effect on May 8. Big Island Video News.


Hawaii sees 2 new COVID-19 cases as coronavirus-related death toll rises to 17. A Maui woman who became infected with COVID-19 in the hospital has died, the 17th coronavirus-fatality in Hawaii, state health officials announced today. Star-Advertiser.

DOH Confirms Two New COVID-19 Cases, 17th Virus-Related Death. The Hawai‘i Department of Health reported two new cases of COVID-19 overnight, including the state’s 17th virus-related death. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Reports New Coronavirus-Related Death On Maui. The state’s coronavirus case count remains at 620, after the Department of Health removed two duplicate cases on Maui and in Honolulu. Civil Beat.

COVID-19 Antibody Testing Ramps Up In Hawaii Without DOH Endorsement. Due to uncertainty around the tests, Hawaii Pacific Health doesn’t plan to change any of its policies if any of its employees are found to have antibodies. Civil Beat.


Hawai‘i Judiciary Frees 37% of Prison Population in Two Months. The state judicial system has reduced jail populations across Hawai‘i by 37% over the last two months in response to threats of the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the close confines of prisons. Big Island Now.

Lawmaker condemns the release of hundreds of inmates from Hawaii's prisons. Hawaii's incarcerated population has decreased by over 800 inmates since March 2nd. KITV4.


Economic Downturn Could Hit Public Pension Funds Hard. Hawaii owes billions to its state retirement system. Civil Beat.

As financial pain grows, Hawaii’s ‘nonessential’ retailers await OK to reopen. Hawaii government leaders have taken cautious baby steps allowing a few more kinds of businesses to reopen last week, but financial burdens continue to pile up for retailers and restaurants. Star-Advertiser.


UPW Head Ousted Over Financial Abuse. UPW’s parent union announced the removal of the Hawaii president on Friday. Dayton Nakanelua, state director of the United Public Workers union in Hawaii, has been removed from his position along with another UPW administrator after failing to fix problems related to the union’s fiscal mismanagement. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s Media Is Surviving On Federal Assistance And Community Support. News outlets, struggling before the pandemic, are dealing with huge ad revenue losses and some are slashing workers’ hours. Civil Beat.


Councilwoman calls for Honolulu to follow Kauai in four day work week. On Monday, hundreds of employees for Kauai County switch to a four day work week to reduce movement on the island and one lawmaker is calling for Honolulu County to do the same. The idea was proposed by Honolulu City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine in January. KITV4.


Hawaii State Capitol Protest Sees 3 Arrested. Police were on hand to enforce restrictions against public gatherings and social distancing rules. Civil Beat.

As state begins to ease restrictions, scores gather to protest stay-at-home order. More than 100 gathered at the state Capitol on Friday to protest emergency stay-at-home orders aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus. Hawaii News Now.


Waikiki bartender recovering from virus. After spending about six weeks unconscious in a hospital while his body fought off a coronavirus infection, Ewa Beach resident and Waikiki bartender Coby Torda was able to mouth his desire for a back scratcher Sunday during a video chat with family. Star-Advertiser.

Ewa Beach man wakes from medically induced coma in COVID-19 battle. Coby Torda shocked his family when he posted a selfie early Sunday morning from his hospital bed at Kaiser Permanente, where he has been recovering from the coronavirus for 44 days. Hawaii News Now.

After 6 weeks, COVID-19 patient Coby Torda wakes up from coma.  Torda has been in the hospital since then in a medically induced coma at Kaiser Moanalua. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Campaigning during COVID-19: Mayoral candidates try to break out of the pack. This has got to be the toughest mayor’s race yet. With just over three months remaining until the Aug. 8 primary, mayoral candidates interviewed Friday are finding campaigning a challenge during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. West Hawaii Today.


Kona Community Hospital resumes elective surgeries. Kona Community Hospital has resumed a limited number of elective outpatient services and procedures including imaging, respiratory therapy, rehabilitation services and surgery. West Hawaii Today.

KCH Resumes Elective Procedures. Patients may again seek some elective treatment options at Kona Community Hospital. Big Island Now.


Mediation program to help landlords, tenants. Big Island tenants and landlords alike are being offered free mediation services by a county program seeking to stave off a flood of COVID-related evictions later in the year. Tribune-Herald.

‘Our way of giving back’: Suisan sells bulk food items to customers. Suisan Foodservice is providing its customers with the option to make large-scale grocery purchases in Hilo and Kona. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii couple that contracted COVID-19 recounts harrowing and frustrating battle against the disease — and red tape. When an elderly Hawaii couple departed Yokohama, Japan, aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship on Jan. 20, they had signed up for a two-week luxury cruise to China, Vietnam and Taiwan and a return to Japan. Tribune-Herald.


Court Rules In Favor Of Helicopter Noise Opponents. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the FAA and National Park Service must complete Air Tour Management Plans. Big Island Video News.

Court: FAA, National Park Service failed to comply with air tour law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., on Friday ordered the Federal Aviation Administration and National Park Service to produce a schedule for bringing 23 national parks, including those in Hawaii, into compliance with the Air Tour Management Act of 2000. Tribune-Herald.

Court orders limits for noisy flights over Haleakala and Hawaii Volcanoes national parks. The Friday order came in response to a lawsuit by Hawaii Island Coalition Malama Pono and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which argued the agencies were offering little relief from the noise being generated by air tours. Star-Advertiser.


Parks, golf courses reopen for play. Residents happy to be back in parks, though people are wondering why some still closed. Maui News.

Over 4,000 file for unemployment. A total of 4,150 Maui residents filed an initial claim for unemployment for the week ending on April 18, and about 5,996 the week before, according to the latest data released from the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Maui News.

Elderly Maui woman is county’s 6th COVID-19 fatality. State increases by two new coronavirus cases Sunday. Maui News.


Jobs Losses, Worries About Paying Rent Widespread On Kauai. A new Department of Health COVID-19 survey of 189 households showed many residents are worried about reopening tourism. Civil Beat.

Motorcycle riders help with food. More than a hundred motorcycle enthusiasts capitalized on the clear, windy weather Sunday to help boost the coffers of the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i branch. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Humane Society ends feral-cat intake. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Kaua‘i Humane Society has halted its intake of feral cats. Garden Island.


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