Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Hotel occupancy drops, Blangiardi extends restrictions, grants may pay for Kauai cesspool conversion, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Statewide hotel occupancy took double-digit dive in August.
Statewide occupancy in August was 73.4%, according to a report released Monday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority which was based on data from Tennessee- based STR. The results were 10.7 percentage points below August 2019 when the pre­pandemic occupancy was 84.1%. Star-Advertiser.

Lieutenant Governor Wants More Health Care Resources, Not Rationed Care. Hawaiʻi Lt. Gov. Josh Green is urging the federal government to help states avoid rationing medical care during the pandemic — a policy that has concerned many older adults and their families. Hawaii Public Radio.

Vaccine rates up for public safety workers and inmates. There were 296, or 18.7%, of the 1,579 corrections workers in Hawaii who declined the vaccine, according to the state Department of Public Safety, as did 38 of Hawaii’s 332 sheriffs. Star-Advertiser.

State auditor Les Kondo challenges investigation of office. State Auditor Les Kondo challenged members of a special House Investigative Committee on Monday to specify why he and his office are under investigation following two critical audits of land management practices by two state agencies — but received no response. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Local progressives urge Rep. Ed Case to support federal infrastructure plan. Local progressive groups are teaming up in an effort to push Congressman Ed Case, D-Hawaii, to support President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” plan, which aims to aggressively address issues such as climate change, child care and rebuilding infrastructure. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Antibody treatments lagging in Hawaii amid strong U.S. demand. The federal government has capped Hawaii’s weekly allocation at 680 treatments, half of what local health care providers had requested. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 surge tapers off: Hospitalizations, number of new cases in decline. Hawaii appears to be “out of the red zone” for COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii reports 431 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 75,911. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 290 new cases on Oahu, 59 on Hawaii island, 38 on Maui, 32 on Kauai, and 12 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Mayor Blangiardi extends restrictions on large gatherings until Oct. 19, ends Honolulu’s COVID-19 tier system. Mayor Rick Blangiardi today extended the restrictions for large gatherings, which allow 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, until Oct. 19. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Honolulu’s Search For A New City Auditor May Finally Be Near An End. A search committee selected a candidate with experience in Washington, D.C., and Seattle. The City Council must approve the appointment. Civil Beat.

Training Records May Be Sticking Point In Fire Chief Deadlock. The Honolulu Fire Commission will meet again this week to take up the hiring impasse. Civil Beat.

Many Head Start Classes Go Back Online Amid Covid Surge. The decision came as the delta variant spread rapidly in communities served by the federally funded preschool program. Civil Beat.

A forecast for Honolulu’s peak number of daily coronavirus cases has been revised downward due to recent data and a combination of other factors, including new restrictions and fewer travelers. The Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Work Group, upon request at a recent Honolulu City Council hearing, has estimated the potential impact of the Safe Access Oahu program could reduce cases by about 30% in the next 10 days. Star-Advertiser.

At-home COVID-19 testing kits available free to Oahu residents via federal program. The Hawaii Department of Health today announced that Oahu has been selected to participate in a federal pilot program providing 125,000 residents in eligible zip codes with free, at-home COVID-19 test kits. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Visits to USS Arizona Memorial resume after shoreside dock gets temporary fix. A temporary repair of the shoreside dock at the USS Arizona Memorial visitor center allowed walk-on visitation to the memorial today at noon for the first time in over two weeks as part of “operational testing” that included the general public, the National Park Service said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island


Clog in online permitting system slows PV installations. A permit slowdown was expected with the transition to an online permit system in late July. But, while most builders and contractors questioned in an informal survey by West Hawaii Today said permits are starting to trickle through, PV and solar water contractors have yet to see a single permit dribble out. West Hawaii Today.

DOT: Work to reopen Hakalau park unlikely to begin until 2023. Hakalau Beach Park and the nearby Kolekole Beach Park closed in 2017 because of public health hazards caused by lead contamination in the soil. But while Kolekole Beach Park was reopened in 2020, Hakalau remains closed. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


Maui Hotels August 2021 Revenue Per Available Room Up 43% from 2019.
For August 2021, Maui County hotels’ RevPar and ADR were up compared to pre-pandemic August 2019, but occupancy was down 4.3%, according to the HTA Hawaiʻi Hotel Performance Report. Maui Now.

Maui police employee in Lahaina tests positive for COVID. The Maui Police Department confirmed an employee out of the Lahaina District tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, Sept. 20.  KHON2.

A large Kahului homeless camp is cleaned out with hopes of getting campers into housing. One of Maui’s largest homeless encampment is being cleared out this week. The encampment is along Amala Place in Kahului on the way to Kanaha Beach Park – a beach that is popular for picnicking and kite surfing. Hawaii News Now.

Pandemic puts strain on farm sanctuary. In the heart of Haiku sits a safe haven where hundreds of animals have received refuge and where visitors have been able to engage and learn. But uncertainty grows as the COVID-19 pandemic challenges the Leilani Farm Sanctuary to keep the gates open as visitor numbers drop due to travel warnings and other restrictions. Maui News.

Kauai

Council moves forward with cesspool conversion program. Converting a cesspool to a septic tank can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000. A new bill introduced by the Kaua‘i County Council seeks to absorb those costs for homeowners. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i falling behind in vaccination rates. Across the state, about 66% of Hawai‘i residents are fully vaccinated, with about 75% initiating vaccination. On Kaua‘i, only about 64% of residents are fully vaccinated and 69% have gotten one of two shots. Garden Island.

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