Hawaii County Civil Defense Closes ANOTHER Beach Due to Dengue Fever Outbreak

This is a Dengue Fever information update for Wednesday December 23rd at 2:00PM.

The response to the Dengue Fever outbreak continues and as a proactive and preventative measure, Milolii Beach Park will be closed until further notice. This action is necessary to allow for health and parks department staff to conduct mosquito control and pesticide treatments. In addition, the Hookena Beach Park also remains closed until further notice. Access to both the areas will be limited to local residents only. We apologize for any inconvenience with these closures.

As of 1:00 today the Department of Health reported six additional confirmed cases since yesterday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since the beginning of the outbreak to 176.  These cases include 158 residents and 18 visitors.

Dengue is a virus that is transmitted from an infected person to a mosquito, which can then infect another person. Dengue fever cannot be spread directly from person to person. Of the 176 confirmed cases, 8 are recent and could be in the stage of their illness in which they can infect mosquitoes.

Symptoms of dengue include a high fever, intense headache and joint pain, and rash on the arms. If you suspect you may have dengue, contact your health care provider and remain indoors to prevent the possibility of being bitten and infecting mosquitoes.

The Department of Health is spraying and treating areas connected to confirmed cases to reduce mosquito populations. In addition, Civil Defense teams are inspecting areas of high mosquito presence reported by the community. If teams visit your home while you are away, they will leave a note – please follow the instructions on the note to contact the appropriate agency.

While these efforts lower risk by reducing mosquito populations, the most effective method to reduce the spread of dengue is for everyone to avoid and prevent mosquito bites. Fight The Bite by wearing clothing that minimizes exposed skin, using mosquito repellant, and avoiding activities in areas of high mosquito concentration during the early morning and late afternoon periods when mosquito activity is greatest.

For additional information on dengue and preventing the spread, go to health.hawaii.gov or call the Department of Health at 974-6001. Everyone’s help and assistance with this outbreak is much needed and appreciated.

Effective this week, updates to the dengue outbreak will be limited to three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Below is a map that depicts case locations as of 12/22/2015.

  • This map will be updated Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with location data provided by the State Department of Health. Locations may represent multiple cases.
  • For the most up to date case counts and other information from the Department of Health, visit their website at health.hawaii.gov.
  • Surveying and spraying is being conducted at the residences of all suspect and confirmed cases, in addition to proactive spraying at nearby public facilities.
  • This map should not be used to exclude any areas of the island from proactive mosquito control measures. All residents islandwide are encouraged to Fight The Bite by reducing mosquito breeding grounds and protecting themselves from mosquito bites.
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 176

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases has risen by 6 more cases since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 176.

Mosquito Bite

As of December 23, 2015*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 6 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 8 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
8 Illness onset 12/13/15 to 12/17/15
Cases no longer infectious
168 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 12/11/15
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)

Of the confirmed cases, 158 are Hawaii Island residents and 18 are visitors.
140 cases have been adults; 36 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/17/15.

As of today, a total of 687 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated December 16, 2015)

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE. (Updated December 2, 2015)

CDC Interim Assessment of the Response by the Hawaii State Department of Health to the Dengue Outbreak on the Island of Hawaii

State Conditionally Approves Transfer of Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s Hawaii Cable Franchises to Charter Communications

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ (DCCA) Cable Television Division (CATV) conditionally approved the merger transaction transferring control of Oceanic Time Warner Cable LLC’s (Oceanic) six cable franchises to Charter Communications, Inc. (Charter).

otwcCharter provides entertainment and communications services to approximately six million customers in 28 states. Charter and Time Warner Cable, Inc. (TWC), the parent company of Oceanic, filed an application in July to indirectly transfer control of Oceanic’s cable franchises statewide, pursuant to a merger transaction between Charter and TWC.

“After an extensive review of the merger transaction application, which included statewide public hearings, we determined that the proposed transfer of Oceanic’s Hawaii cable franchises to Charter, with the conditions imposed on by the state, is in the public’s best interest,” said CATV Administrator Ji Sook “Lisa” Kim. “As outlined in the Decision and Order, Charter is committed to improving cable networks in Hawaii and providing a low cost broadband service for Hawaii’s low-income consumers.”

Decision & Order No. 366 giving DCCA’s conditional approval for the merger can be viewed at http://cca.hawaii.gov/catv. Requirements outlined in the Decision and Order include:

  • Provide a broadband service for low-income consumers in Hawai`i (providing families with children participating in the National School Lunch Program and seniors, age 65 and older who are eligible and receive federal Supplemental Security Income benefits, with broadband service initially for $14.99/month, at speeds up to 30 Megabits per second (Mbps) download, and 4 Mbps upload) within three years of the close of the merger transaction.
  • Invest $10,000,000 to build out its networks in Hawai`i; and build out 1,000 new line extensions of its networks to homes in its Hawai`i cable franchise areas within three years of the close of the merger transaction.
  • Provide 1,000 new public WiFi access points within three years of the close of the merger transaction, 100 of these new access points to be deployed at public parks, civic and community centers, and other public open areas and gathering places at the direction of DCCA.
  • Within 30 months after the close of the merger transaction, transition virtually all of OTWC’s cable systems to all-digital networks and, upon the conversion, Charter/OTWC shall provide, among other things, subscribers two (2) digital transport adaptors or “basic boxes” free of charge for a period of two (2) years and make them available at OTWC’s customer service centers and delivery by mail (including pre-paid return service).
  • Promote and make available energy efficient set-top boxes (within three years of close of merger transaction, at least 90% of newly deployed boxes shall meet energy star requirements), and Charter/OTWC is encouraged to: (1) partner with community organizations to educate and promote the use energy efficient set-top boxes; and (2) develop an economically feasible program to trade out old boxes with efficient ones.

The merger and transfer of Oceanic’s Hawaii franchises will not take place until federal regulatory review of the merger transaction is completed. As of today, Dec. 18, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission is on its 98th day of review of the Charter and TWC merger.

Hundreds of Thousands of ‘Ōhi‘a Trees Killed by Mysterious Disease

Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death, is a mysterious disease that has already killed hundreds of thousands of Hawaii’s iconic and native ‘Ōhi‘a, the backbone of Hawaii’s native forests and watersheds.

Dr. J.B. Friday of the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service explains, “ROD is caused by a fungus called Ceratocystis fimbriata.  This disease is new to Hawai‘i and the strain of fungus infecting ‘ōhi‘a, has never been described before.  While apparently only impacting Big Island forests currently, this has the potential of spreading statewide, so it’s critically important we do everything to stop it.”

Ohia Disease

Numerous state and federal agencies have partnered to develop up-to-date information about , Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death that will help minimize further spread and give researchers time to find answers and develop potential treatments.  Scientists say new information is being uncovered nearly on a weekly basis.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case, along with Dept. of Agriculture (HDOA) Chair Scott Enright are two of the top state officials engaged in the battle against Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death.  Case said, “‘Ōhi‘a trees cover more than one million acres statewide and ‘ōhi‘a is widely considered the most important forest tree in Hawai‘i. They are so important for protecting our forest watersheds that it’s necessary our approach to combating this disease involves the highest levels of government and includes non-government agencies and private partners that can provide additional resources and expertise.”

The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, in cooperation with the UH Cooperative Extension Service of the College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Research Service & USDA Forest Service Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry have produced a brochure and rack card on Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death.  In addition DLNR has produced a video version of the brochure now available on state, federal and social media websites https://vimeo.com/149782586

HDOA Chair Scott Enright said, “Many think this is only an issue on Hawai‘i Island. However, this disease is a threat to all ‘ōhi‘a trees across the state. The Department of Agriculture has already instituted a quarantine rule which prohibits interisland movement of ‘ōhi‘a plant and plant parts without inspection and a permit. Everyone must be vigilant, especially those who transport ‘ōhi‘a trees inter-island and on Hawai‘i Island.”

The quarantine rules, along with symptoms of the disease and five things everyone can do to prevent Rapid‘Ōhi‘a Death spread are outlined in the brochure, in the video, and on a website and Facebook page established to raise awareness and provide the latest information. ‘Ōhi‘a is widely used in lei for events like the Merry Monarch Festival.  In 2016 the agencies and its partners expect to release follow-up information on traditional and cultural uses of ‘ōhi‘a, and how people can use lehua without spreading Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death.

Dr. Flint Hughes of the USDA Forest Service concluded, “With the help from nurseries, anyone traveling in, working in, or harvesting in the forest and people who transport ‘ōhi‘a, we stand a chance of stopping Rapid‘Ōhi‘a Death in its tracks.  Without this concerted, interagency effort, the impacts could be devastating.”

Latest information, maps and updates on Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death: