There’s no doubt that Hawaii is heading into uncharted territory with regards to Covid cases, and perhaps other more concerning metrics as well. Today the state announced there were 1,828 new Covid cases, while it is growing rapidly on all islands. And this is likely just the beginning of where we could be in the next few weeks, with the potential being reported of upwards to 20,000 cases per day across all the islands.
Health Dept. says avoid travel + looks towards changes to 72-hour trusted partner testing.
Yesterday, Elizabeth Char, head of the state’s Department of Health said, “If you can avoid travel right now, avoid travel right now.” She was speaking at a virtual press conference. You can be quite certain, however, that her message was intended for both residents and visitors and that it had been approved by the governor. It is interesting that this came from Char rather than Ige, while it is our observation that Char doesn’t even breathe without Ige’s consent.
Regarding what changes to Hawaii Safe Travels Covid protocols lie ahead, Char intimated that potential with regards to the current 72-hour testing only from approved partners option. She said, “Do we change up the test or shorten that window? That’s another option. So yes, we are discussing it. But again, the public health recommendation would be you test as close to flying time as possible… But understand that there are challenges in implementing that.” We haven’t heard the last of this.
Are visitors part of Hawaii’s Covid problem?
The state reports that only 1% of all cases are related to non-resident travel. But, is that actually true? We hadn’t given that too much thought until an interesting comment this morning piqued our interest. We’d like to know your thoughts on this.
Regular commentor Liam said, “If you test positive for Covid while vacationing in Hawaii you will not tell anyone unless you are gravely ill. What they should be tracking is how many people left early. No one in their right mind who tests positive will admit it as it will cost them 1000s of dollars as they get locked in quarantine for two weeks at $500 a night and can only eat room service. Not to mention car rental for two weeks that you can’t use along with parking and resort fees. You are looking at 15k.”
Covid Hawaii flight cancellations mount.
It has been widelky reported that airlines are having flight cancellation issues this holiday weekend as staff and crew call in sick during the Omicron surge. As a result, there is a mounting number of Hawaii flight cancellations too. We just checked on Hawaii flight cancelations by airport and here’s what we found.
At Honolulu, there are 9 canceled flights today: Delta Airlines (4), United Airlines (2), Hawaiian Airlines (2), and Westjet Airlines (1).
At Maui, there are 7 canceled flights today: Delta Airlines (4), United Airlines (2), and Hawaiian Airlines (1).
At Kona and on Kauai, there are no flights that have been canceled today.
And from a more personal perspective…
With the greater chances of getting the “new” Covid, we’re reviewing for ourselves the suggested protocols here in Hawaii and elsewhere.
Regular commenter Barbara pointed out this morning that she’s only using N95 and KN95 masks now as is being recommended widely. “CDC has now recommended against using just cloth masks – if using, use a second underneath. Not exactly comfortable or cool but necessary with Omicron. They recommend using a 5 ply N95 (US certified) or KN95 (Chinese certified). They mentioned that there are many “counterfeit” masks that have not actually been certified. I did research this morning. I bought MedicPro N95 masks on Amazon (NIOSH approved) for use on the plane. Otherwise, using ordinary KN95s.”
BOH editors were invited to a program that then lead to a dinner party last night. There were perhaps 100 guests. We chose to attend the program, but did not stay for food or drink nor did either of us ever remove our well-fitting KN95 masks.
That long-planned and paid-for event came on the heels of the County, State, and Federal governments all suggesting that people avoid large gatherings right now. In that regard, Char said, “Any large gathering… is a ‘horrible idea’ right now, especially at places where people take their masks off to eat or drink.”