Wednesday, December 29, 2021

University of Hawaii moves classes online, public schools to resume in-person classes, first responder shortages close Oahu ambulance stations, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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University of Hawaii moving most courses online for first 2 weeks of spring semester. The University of Hawaii announced today it will temporarily move many courses at its 10 campuses online for the first two weeks of the spring semester due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the state driven by the highly contagious omicron variant. The spring semester begins on Jan. 10. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Schools to resume full in-person classes despite highest surge in cases since the pandemic started. Around 193,000 kids will be back in classrooms next week, following winter break. KHON2.

Hawaii’s latest COVID-19 surge is touching off labor shortages.
Amid surging infection counts as the COVID-19 threat is poised to enter its third year, pandemic fatigue is mounting for Hawaii’s workers and businesses. Star-Advertiser.

Proposals To Help Hawaii’s Homeless Population Taking Shape At Legislature.
Service providers hope more money in the state budget this coming year will mean new and expanded programs. Civil Beat.

Hawaii losing ‘irreplaceable’ shore defender when Sam Lemmo retires. Sam Lemmo, longtime administrator of the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands within the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, is ending a 30-year career in local public service Friday. Star-Advertiser.

With cases at record highs, DOH urges mayors to impose New Year’s restrictions. The state Health Department is urging county mayors to impose more controls on New Year’s Eve gatherings. They fear revelers will add fuel to the already out of control surge of COVID infections. Hawaii News Now.

New COVID-19 treatment options show promise but are in short supply in Hawaii. Early treatment options for COVID-19 have become increasingly promising as a means to keep people at high risk of developing severe illness out of the hospital and from dying, but their availability in Hawaii is in short supply. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii sees 824 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 104,597. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 613 new cases on Oahu, 50 on Hawaii Island, 107 on Maui, 17 on Kauai, 25 on Molokai and 12 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


As cases soar, COVID staffing shortages force some Oahu ambulance stations to temporarily close. More than 200 Oahu first responders were out Tuesday either because they’re infected with COVID or they’re in quarantine, the city confirmed. Hawaii News Now.

Health officials identify another COVID cluster linked to music festival.
The Department of Health reports another COVID cluster from the Hawaii’s Finest Music Festival After Party at Moani Waikiki at the International Market Place. KHON2. KITV4.

Board of Water Supply lauds ruling to drain Red Hill fuel tanks. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply on Tuesday welcomed the recommendation of a state Department of Health hearings officer that the Navy must comply with an emergency order to empty its fuel tanks at the underground Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Christmas trees burned at Kane'ohe Bay sandbar 'illegal and disrespectful,' DLNR says. The Department of Land and Natural Resources is warning the community not to burn Christmas trees at Kaneohe Sand Bar. The DLNR warns that anyone caught could be cited or arrested. KITV4.   KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Ready to collect: New 3% hotel tax goes into effect Saturday. The county tax forms are in place, new government employees are being hired and the hospitality industry is ready to begin what Mayor Mitch Roth calls the “unacceptable but necessary” step of charging guests at hotels and transient vacation rentals an extra 3% starting Saturday. West Hawaii Today.

DLNR warns against desecration of Lake Waiau after rock-throwing incident at Mauna Kea. A woman who posted photos on social media of large rocks being thrown into Lake Waiau — a culturally significant lake located on Mauna Kea — earlier this month prompted state officials to warn the public against doing so. Star-Advertiser. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.


Chairperson resigns as Charter Commission wraps up review. Maui County Charter Commission Chairperson Lance Collins announced his resignation effective at the end of the meeting on Dec. 16, citing a conflict between his service on the commission and the new role he had accepted as a per diem judge. Maui News.

Maui County to distribute thousands of free, at-home test kits on Wednesday. The kits will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis starting 4 p.m. Wednesday, while supplies last, at the War Memorial Gymnasium parking lot in Wailuku. The county will also provide several hundred kits to Molokai and Lanai residents at a later time. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. KHON2.

Sen. DeCoite addresses growing COVID-19 case count on Molokaʻi. Senator Lynn DeCoite is urging residents of Molokaʻi to take proper precautions against COVID-19 amid increased case counts on the island. Maui Now. KITV4.


Mongoose captured in Kauai harbor. A mongoose was found and trapped at a harbor on Kauai, where the invasive species has not yet established a presence. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.   KHON2.

Kaua‘i reports 120 record-high COVID-19 single-day count. This is nearly double the previous county-high of 62 new cases reported on Sept. 2. Garden Island.

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