Friday, November 13, 2020

Legislature won't take up mask mandate in special session, Hawaii's only volcano-powered electric plant resumes operations, Hawaiian Airlines allows frequent flyer miles for COVID-19 tests, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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HawaiianMiles now redeemable for a pre-travel COVID-19 test.
Hawaiian Airlines now allows members to redeem HawaiianMiles for a pre-travel COVID test as part of the company's loyalty rewards program. KITV4.

Senate Judiciary Committee to convene, but no plans for legislative mask mandate. The state Senate’s Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet in special session Monday to review two judicial appointments but has no plans to discuss whether to clarify that masks are mandatory across the state to curb the spread of COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.

No Hawaii hospitals have what’s needed to properly store the leading COVID-19 vaccine. There are currently no Hawaii hospitals with the proper equipment to store one of the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates, according to Healthcare Association of Hawaii President and CEO Hilton Raethel. Hawaii News Now.

Millions in housing aid promised to Hawaii families either diverted or expected to go unspent. Tens of thousands of residents in the islands are behind on rent and unsure how they’ll catch up. But a new analysis finds a key state program that set aside $100 million in federal funds for those struggling families is falling well short of what was promised. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii auto sales skid 15.9% in quarter.
Tight inventories and COVID-19 restrictions left Hawaii auto dealers spinning their wheels in the third quarter as sales plunged 15.9% amid a struggling economy. Star-Advertiser.

DOH releases its first COVID-19 'cluster report' on Thursday. Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble on Thursday says over the last two weeks there have been three clusters centered around schools, and if we're not careful she's says we could see more as the holidays approach. KITV4.

Longs Drugs to launch 9 new curbside COVID-19 testing sites statewide. CVS, the parent company of Longs Drugs, will launch nine new curbside COVID-19 testing sites Friday. Hawaii News Now.

VIRUS TRACKER — Nov. 12: 97 New COVID-19 Cases. The new cases recorded Thursday included 72 on Oahu, 15 in Hawaii County, six on Maui and one on Kauai. Three were residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.

Oahu

HART Still Pursuing Long-Shot Deal To Finish Rail Despite City Resistance. The rail authority’s executive director refuses to give up on the potential public-private partnership as the agency’s board looks to replace him. Civil Beat.

Final stretch of Honolulu rail line in disarray as board searches for new CEO. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board is searching for a new CEO. The current CEO, Andrew Robbins, is urging his critics not to change the plan for the final four miles and eight stations. Hawaii News Now.

HART board again voices frustration at Robbins. Rail Chief Executive Officer Andrew Robbins said Thursday that he and his staff will submit to Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Honolulu City Council in the coming days a report detailing why the city should continue pursuing a third-party partner to complete the troubled $10 billion-plus project. Star-Advertiser.

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O'ahu has two weeks to reduce number of COVID-19 cases in order to move into Tier 3. People on O'ahu have two weeks to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases or the city's recovery plan will not move into a less restrictive Tier Three. KITV4.

Oahu Turns To Community Health Centers To Boost COVID-19 Efforts. Clinic directors say coronavirus relief funds will help cover testing and contact tracing costs as well as provide families with direct financial relief. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell hopes CARES Act extended. The city is spending up to $10 million to ramp up COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and support services at Oahu’s community health centers ahead of a looming deadline to expend millions of dollars in federal coronavirus aid. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Caldwell says he is hopeful that federal CARES Act spending deadline can be extended. There's concern the city might run out of federal CARES Act funding by the end of year. KITV4.

City launches new partnership to help Oahu’s COVID-19 patients and their families. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced a new partnership with the Hawaii Primary Care Association and Oahu’s seven community health centers that will work to help Oahu’s COVID-19 patients and their families during the recovery process. KHON2.

Health department cites COVID-19 cases in Hawaii schools, university dorms. A student at a private middle school on Oahu contracted COVID-19, prompting a Health Department investigation and contact tracing of more than 100 people — but only one other student ultimately tested positive. Star-Advertiser.

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Bank of Hawaii adds brand to Stan Sheriff Center with $5 million deal. More than 35 years after University of Hawaii athletic director Stan Sheriff first rolled out plans for an on-campus arena, a final element of his vision will be realized with the addition of a naming sponsor. Star-Advertiser.

Bank of Hawaii is donating millions of dollars to UH's athletic program. As the University of Hawaii battles with budget cuts amid the pandemic the Bank of Hawaii is donating millions of dollars to the school's athletic program. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Puna Geothermal back in action more than 2 years after Kilauea eruption. A volcano on Hawaii Island that partially destroyed a power plant more than two years ago is back to producing electricity at the facility. Star-Advertiser.

PGV back online. Puna Geothermal Venture has resumed operations, more than two years after the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano forced the power plant to stop producing electricity. Tribune-Herald.

Puna Geothermal Venture Goes Back Online. Two and a half years after the eruption of the Kīlauea volcano on the Lower East Rift Zone, the geothermal power plant is back in operation. Big Island Video News.

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State Department of Health begins releasing weekly ‘cluster reports’. Two clusters of COVID-19, stemming from social gatherings on the Big Island, have resulted in 63 cases, according to a new “cluster report” released Thursday by the state Department of Health. Tribune-Herald.

Potential flood of eviction cases could be too much for county mediation program
. The Rapid Response Landlord Tenant Mediation Program began in May to solve disputes between tenants and landlords struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribune-Herald.

County wins coveted award for financial reporting. The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada awarded its Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the Finance Department for its comprehensive annual financial report. Tribune-Herald.

Hilton Waikoloa Village To Reopen Nov. 13. The largest outdoor resort area on Hawaiʻi island reopens on Friday, November 13. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Council urges mayor to create COVID-19 task force.
The Maui County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a resolution urging the mayor to establish a rapid-response COVID-19 task force. Maui News.

Call for Guided Astronomy and Hiking Tour Applicants in Haleakalā National Park. Up to four astronomy tour permits and up to six guided hiking tour permits will be issued. Maui Now.

Hyatt Regency Maui, Andaz, Hāna-Maui Resort, Wailea Beach Villas Resume Operations. Several Hyatt properties on Maui and across the state announced today they are resuming operations as  Hawaiʻi begins its next steps toward the return of tourism. Maui Now.

Kauai

County sees flaws in state’s Safe Travels program. The county is attempting to fill gaps in and improve the state’s Safe Travels program that allows travelers to bypass a mandatory, two-week quarantine. Garden Island.

Kauai sees highest COVID-19 case count since June.  Five new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Kauai County on Nov. 12, the largest daily increase for the Garden Isle since June. KHON2.

5 new cases highest in five months. Three of the cases are Kaua‘i residents, and two are visitors. Garden Island.

Cost of COVID-19-related county labor. County officials are estimating it’ll cost about $300,000 a month to continue emergency operations, support and other COVID-19-related procedures come the start of the new year. Garden Island.

 

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