Parks & Recreation Summer Fun Registration Postponed

The County of Hawaii Department of Parks & Recreation, Recreation Division has postponed Summer Fun Registration islandwide until further notice.  We will keep everyone informed through the County of Hawai‘i website and media outlets when the registration is scheduled to begin.  

The Recreation Division would like to remind everyone to practice proper hygiene and social distancing.

For more information about the Department of Parks and Recreation’s 2020 Summer Fun Program, please contact the Recreation Division at 961-8740.

County of Hawai‘i Recommends Wearing Cloth Face Coverings

Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim recommended Friday that people wear cloth face coverings when in public to protect others from the spread of COVID-19.  The recommendation reflects one made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is supported by the Mayors of the State of Hawaii.

The Mayor made clear that he did not recommend surgical or N-95 masks for general use, because supplies need to be reserved for first responders and health care providers. Homemade masks can be made from household items, old clothing or bandannas. For more information on how to make a face mask from fabric, please call Civil Defense at 935-0031.

“This would be voluntary, and it would be to protect each other from Coronavirus,” Mayor Kim said.  “As Dr. John Martell of Hilo Medical Center says, ‘Let’s all protect each other.’”

People can contract and spread the virus without showing symptoms, so it is wise to assume that you could be a carrier and so wearing a mask would protect other people, Mayor Kim said.  A homemade mask can block one’s own germs from infecting others.

The Mayor recommended that everyone wear a mask when leaving home and encountering others.

Let us all protect each other.

STUDY: Coastal Pollution Reduces Genetic Diversity of Corals, Reef Resilience

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) researchers found that human-induced environmental stressors have a large effect on the genetic composition of coral reef populations in Hawai‘i. According to a recent study, they confirmed that there is an ongoing loss of sensitive genotypes in nearshore coral populations due to stressors resulting from poor land-use practices and coastal pollution. This reduced genetic diversity compromises reef resilience. 

Porites lobata, the foundation of many coral reefs in Hawaii and the Pacific. Credit: Zac Forsman.

The study identified closer genetic relationships between nearshore corals in Maunalua Bay, Oʻahu and those from sites on West Maui, than to corals from the same islands, but further offshore. This pattern can be described as isolation by environment in contrast to isolation by distance. This is an adaptive response by the corals to watershed discharges that contain sediment and pollutants from land.

“While the results were not surprising, they clearly demonstrate the critical need to control local sources of stress immediately while concurrently addressing the root causes of global climate change,” said Robert Richmond, UH Mānoa research professor and director of the Kewalo Marine Laboratory and co-author of the study. “Additionally, this innovative science shows the need to track biodiversity at multiple levels.”

Porites lobata coral in Olawalu Maui. Credit: Zac Forsman.

This research provides valuable information to coral reef managers in Hawai‘i and around the world who are developing approaches and implementation plans to enhance coral reef resilience and recovery through reef restoration and stressor reduction.

“This study shows the value of applying molecular tools to ecological studies supporting coral reef management,” stated Kaho Tisthammer, lead researcher on this paper. 

While the loss of coral colonies and species is easy to see with the naked eye, molecular tools are needed to uncover the effects of stressors on the genetic diversity within coral reef populations.

This research, performed by Kaho Tisthammer, Rob Toonen, Zac Forsman and Robert Richmond, was a collaborative effort between researchers at SOEST’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory, Pacific Biosciences Research Center and the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology

NHCH Offering More COVID-19 Screenings

Drive-up screening for COVID-19 at Queen’s North Hawai’i Community Hospital (QNHCH) will change to a three-times-week schedule, effective Monday, April 6. Screening is offered 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the main hospital campus in Waimea.

Physician’s orders are not required but individuals must have symptoms and complete a screening. Patients are asked to bring photo ID and insurance information, and to stay in their vehicle; screening and testing takes only a few minutes and is done while the patient stays in the vehicle.

Leaving one’s home to seek medical care is an essential and allowable activity under the State’s Stay-at-Home order.

For more information, visit coronavirus.gov or hawaiicovid19.com or call the Queen’s COVID-19 Information Line at 691-2619.

Hawai‘i Department of Health Announces 3rd COVID-19 Death

The Hawai‘i Department of Health is reporting the death of a third individual with COVID-19. The elderly O‘ahu resident had been hospitalized in critical condition on life support for several weeks after returning from travel to Washington state.

Spread of COVID-19 cases from 3/29/2020 to 4/2/2020

“We offer our sincere condolence to his family and friends at this difficult time,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson. “His death, the third death in Hawaii, is a tragic reminder of the virulent and contagious nature of this virus. We all must all work together to stop the spread of this deadly disease. Stay healthy by staying home, and if you must go out, always keep a six foot distance from others.”

Hawai‘i is under a State of Emergency and all residents must stay home except for essential activities until at least April 30, 2020. Essential activities include grocery shopping, getting takeout food, medicine and gasoline, taking care of the elderly, minors, and those with disabilities, and medical appointments. Those who need to walk their dogs, jog or exercise, should do so from home and practice social distancing. If you must go out, stay at least six feet from others at all times.

“You should act as though you have COVID-19 and everyone around you does too,” said Anderson.

Passenger Arrivals by Air Continues to Drop

The number of passengers arriving in Hawaii by air continues to drop.

Yesterday, 543 people arrived in Hawaii, and of that amount, 89 were visitors. Most of the passengers were returning residents. In comparison, during this same time last year, nearly 30,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily, including residents and visitors.

The state’s 14-day mandatory self-quarantine started last week Thursday, March 26th, for all passengers arriving in Hawaii from out of state. The order was expanded on April 1st to include interisland travelers.

This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday and does not include interisland travel.

Board Approves HIDOE’s Request to Modify Graduation & Requirements

The Board of Education (BOE) unanimously voted today to approve the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (HIDOE) request to modify high school graduation and commencement requirements under Board Policy 102-15 for the graduating class of 2020.

This approval means the Department will be able to move forward with finalizing a graduation plan that principals, complex area and state leadership have been developing over the past two weeks. The plan recommends utilizing grades from the third quarter, which ended March 13, to determine the final grade for student courses.

For students who do not meet proficiency, an extension or other options will be available, and further considerations are being made for students within block or multi-track schedules. The plan also includes additional considerations for academic honors including Advanced Placement (AP) assessments, International Baccalaureate (IB) assessments and dual credit as well as workforce opportunities like Career and Technical Education and military designations. 

The full plan will be released early next week pending a final review and approval by Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto.

“Adjusting to this global crisis has required school districts nationwide to rethink how education is delivered. We understand that students, families and our teachers want answers and we’re hoping that today’s decision will provide some closure as the Department will now be able to move forward with sharing and implementing plans for the remainder of the school year,” BOE Chairwoman Catherine Payne said. 

There are currently 11,183 seniors, with approximately 90% eligible to graduate on time based on third quarter grades, which are still being processed. The Department is starting to identify and categorize students into four bands to provide necessary supports. 

  • Band 1: Students who are on track and will receive a diploma based on their third quarter grades. Enrichment and learning opportunities will continue to ensure they are ready for post-secondary opportunities. 
  • Band 2: Students who are not meeting proficiency based on their third quarter grades. They are targeted for intervention and remediation to help them graduate on time. These individualized plans will be developed at the school level. 
  • Band 3: Students who are not meeting proficiency based on third quarter grades and are unable to achieve proficiency during the fourth quarter time period. Supports being proposed include providing summer school or e-School options.
  • Band 4: Students who were failing by the end of the first semester and are unable to achieve proficiency during the fourth quarter and with summer options. Administrators, counselors and teachers will work directly with these students and their families to develop a personalized plan. 

“Our priority from the start of this crisis has been our students, staff and their families. Developing this plan was a heavy lift by school and complex leaders and was done so with guidance from our federal, state and county partners,” added Kishimoto. “This waiver does not relax our standards. It provides the flexibility to ensure our eligible seniors graduate on time and smoothly transition to their chosen path after high school.”

The Department will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and make a decision by April 15 regarding commencement ceremonies. School, complex area and state teams have started discussing alternative means of celebration in the event traditional ceremonies cannot be held. 

The BOE also unanimously voted to approve the Department’s waiver request to cancel federally required statewide standardized assessments for the 2019-2020 school year. This includes Smarter Balanced Assessments for English language arts/literacy and mathematics, Hawaii State Science Assessments and Biology 1 end of course exams; Hawaii State Alternate Assessments; and the Kaiapuni Assessment Educational Outcomes (KĀʻEO). The public can submit comments until April 10 regarding this waiver through an online survey here. For more information as well as the anticipated impact, click here

School facilities have been closed to students since March 19, with traditional, in-school instruction temporarily discontinued until at least April 30. All HIDOE employees continue to work remotely with the exception of those who are considered essential and must perform their duties at a campus or office.

Schools have launched distance learning opportunities and/or learning packets were distributed via email, school websites and some in-person. Work packets will not be graded, but many teachers are identifying unique ways to provide feedback to students. The Department has also stood up a resource for parents available atbit.ly/HIDOEVirtualLearningParentResource. HIDOE COVID-19 updates will continue to be posted on the Department’s website at hawaiipublicschools.org.

COVID-19: Inmate Population Relief Efforts

This is a Department of Public Safety (PSD) informational and procedural update for Thursday, April 2. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the prisons or jails.  

Inmate Testing:

  • On 3/26/20 the individual listed under HCCC was sent to the hospital for treatment due to poor response to confirmed Influenza A.  The hospital conducted a COVID-19 test as a precaution on 3/26/20.  The test came back negative on 3/27/20. 
  • The test listed under OCCC was administered by a hospital prior to entry on 4/1/20 and is pending results. That individual is not exhibiting any symptoms.  OCCC staff executed their procedures to place the individual directly into medical isolation out of an abundance of caution until outside test results are obtained.

The facilities have longstanding outbreak management plans in place to quickly identify, isolate and treat communicable diseases.  They remain vigilant in their efforts to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19.

PSD adheres to the Department of Health medical guidance on testing for COVID-19, which currently recommends a testing panel be done to rule out other respiratory diseases before COVID-19 tests are considered.  

Inmate Population Relief Efforts 

PSD is well aware of the risks of over-population and crowding in our jails, especially during this pandemic. The Department has been following the petition from the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) to the Hawaii Supreme Court requesting release of certain inmates due to concerns of possible spread of COVID-19 to the prisons and jails. 

Today the court appointed a Special Master to assist all parties involved in a collaborative effort to find a resolution to the issues raised in the petition. We will await further guidance from the Special Master. The court also ordered intermittent sentence incarceration (those ordered into jail custody just on weekends) to be suspended until a judge states otherwise.  (Here is a link to the order)

The courts have already been collaborating with PSD to reduce the number of pre-trial jail detainees in custody.

  • The Department of Public Safety has been working with our Judicial partners to implement more video conferencing of arraignment and plea (A&P) proceedings and bail motions.  The video conferencing at OCCC, normally scheduled for two days a week, was successfully increased to three days a week (effective March 23) and as of March 30, is now expanded to five days a week for District and Circuit Court proceedings. 
  • From March 2 to April 2 there has been a substantial decrease in the jail population.  This is due to the huge efforts made by the Judiciary, our local police departments and PSD’s Intake Service Division as they work together to limit the number of people requiring admittance into the jails.  All decreases were pursuant to independently issued  court orders.

Hawaii Paroling Authority Update:

The Hawaii Paroling Authority’s suspension of all parole hearings is extended to the end of April. All hearings previously scheduled to take place during this time frame are being rescheduled.  All offenders who have already tentatively been granted release on parole will continue to be processed for release pursuant to the individual release requirements established by the parole board during their previous parole hearing. 

Signs have been posted outside for parolees and inside for HPA staff with the latest scheduling and office updates. An information hotline was established with recorded updates for the general public.  That number: (808) 253-1642.

Summary of previous update information issued through March:

  • PSD identified 52 inmates at the Halawa Correctional Facility and 5 at the Women’s Community Correctional Center who will be completing their full sentence between 3/28/20 – 6/30/20.  A list has been sent to the Hawaii Paroling Authority (HPA) for its consideration.   
  • All inmate work furlough passes and Hawaii Correctional Industries (HCI) outside community service work lines are suspended until further notice.
  • All non-essential programming is temporarily suspended.

(Correctional services such as: security, health care, food service, and facility operations/maintenance will continue as scheduled. Essential medical specialist transports, hospital and emergency transports will continue as needed.)

  • Enhanced screening is implemented at entry points, including no-touch temperature checks and verbal health screening questions.
  • Correctional facility entry suspensions include volunteers, non-essential program staff and personal inmate visitors.  (Attorneys and vendors/contractors providing inmate health and safety products and services are still allowed).
  • Increased inmate phone accessibility – Inmates are afforded an unlimited number of pre-paid and collect 15-minute personal phone calls. The personal call duration has been increased to allow up to 30 minutes per call. 
  • Free phone calls – GlobalTel Link (GTL) is providing two, free, five-minute-long calls per week for the next four weeks. 

Health care staff have had continuous, open dialogue with the Department of Health (DOH), and facility staff are being briefed on protocols as the situation changes day-by-day.  

Staff have been reminded to frequently wash their hands and refrain from touching their faces, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended guidelines. Daily emails with the latest COVID-19 information, guidance and recommendations from the CDC and from DOH are being sent to all employees to keep everyone informed.

Sign up for PSD alerts and notifications through our AlertSense notification system by going to https://hawaiiPSD.myfreealerts.com

Residents can download the free AlertSense mobile app for Android and Apple devices, or text their zip code to 38276 to instantly sign up.

Hawaii House of Reps to Remain Closed Through April 30

House Speaker Scott K. Saiki today announced that the House of Representatives’ offices at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol willremain closed through April 30 to maintain consistency with Governor David Ige’s “stay at home” order directing all persons to remain and work from home except for those performing necessary functions. 

Upon learning that a member of the State Senate had tested positive for COVID-19 last month, all House offices and agencies were closed through April 5. Subsequently, the Governor issued his order which remains in effect through April 30. 

The Legislature is an essential part of government. However, Representatives may determine their own office hours and staffing needs based on their respective circumstances. Staff who remain at home should work from home. 

Hawaii residents can continue to contact their Representatives by phone, email or social media. Go to https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/members/legislators.aspx?chamber=H for contact information. 

Supreme Court Appoints Special Master

The Hawaii Supreme Court issued an order today addressing two pending petitions filed by the State Office of the Public Defender regarding the release or changes in the conditions of confinement of inmates amid concerns of a potential COVID-19 outbreak in Hawaii’s correctional centers and facilities.

Judge Daniel R. Foley

In its order, the court consolidated the two petitions and appointed retired Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) Judge Daniel R. Foley as Special Master to work with the parties in a collaborative and expeditious manner to address the issues raised in the petitions, and to recommend a resolution while protecting public health and safety.  An initial summary report from the Special Master is due by April 9, 2020.

Judge Foley is a respected jurist who served on the ICA from 2000 to 2016, handling appeals from Hawaii circuit, district, and family courts, and from administrative agencies. He chaired the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission and co-chaired the Hawaii Appellate Review Task Force and Committee on Equality and Access to the Courts.

Here is a link to the order.

Passenger Arrivals Continue to Dwindle

Today marks one week since the state’s 14-day mandatory self-quarantine started for all passengers arriving in Hawaii from out of state.

The order was expanded yesterday to include interisland travelers as well.

This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday and does not include interisland travel.

Yesterday, 664 people arrived in Hawaii, and of that number, 120 people were visitors. Most of the passengers were returning residents.

In comparison, during this same time last year, more than 30,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily, including residents and visitors.

COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing in Hilo

Premier Medical Group and Bay Clinic with the support of The County of Hawai`i COVID-19 Task Force will offer a drive-through screening and testing clinic. The one day clinic for COVID-19 will be held at Hilo’s Ho`olulu Complex on Sunday, April 5, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Access only through the Pi’ilani/Hinano entrance.

This free clinic is open to the public; however, individuals must first undergo a screening to determine if they meet the criteria to be tested. Clinic physicians on site will make the determination regarding testing. The screening criteria will be based on guidance of the CDC and the State’s COVID-19 Response Task Force.

People who visit the screening clinic will be asked to show photo ID. Additionally, people are requested to bring their own pen, and any health insurance cards they have, although insurance is not required.

COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing in Kona

Ali’i Health, with the support of Premier Medical Group and the County of Hawai`i COVID-19 Task Force, will be conducting drive-through screening and testing clinics in Kona. The twice weekly clinics will be held on Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting April 2, and continuing until further notice.

The Clinics will be held at the Keauhou Shopping Center.

These clinics will replace the drive through clinics that were held at the Old Kona Airport. No testing will be held this weekend at the Old Kona Airport.

These free clinics are open to the public; however, individuals must first undergo a screening to determine if they meet the criteria to be tested. Clinic physicians on site will make the determination regarding testing. The screening criteria will be based on guidance of the CDC and the State’s COVID-19 Response Task Force.

To bypass the screening que patients can go to Pathways Telehealth by calling (808) 747-8321 option 5 to be screened and expedite testing.

People who visit the screening clinic will be asked to show photo ID. Additionally, people are requested to bring any health insurance cards they have, although insurance is not required.

$12 Million in HUD Grants for Hawaii Coronavirus Response & Recovery

Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono announced that Hawaii has received more than $12 million in Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants to address the critical housing needs of Hawaii residents during the coronavirus pandemic. These funds come from the third coronavirus relief package Congress passed last week.

The grants include Community Development Block Grants, Emergency Solutions Grants, and grants through the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program. The grants will help service providers respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing resources to protect Hawaii’s vulnerable communities. Potential uses of funding include the purchase of additional personal protective equipment, ensuring critical response infrastructure is available when needed, and helping at-risk populations stay safe. The HUD funds will be distributed to the state, as well as to Hawaii County, Kauai County, Maui County, and the City and County of Honolulu.

“The coronavirus pandemic has stretched resources thin for families and communities across the country,” Senator Hirono said. “This funding is a critical early step in protecting and providing resources for some of our most at-risk populations. I will continue my advocacy to ensure that future coronavirus relief packages prioritize workers, families, and the most vulnerable.”

UH Hilo Grad Student Awarded Prestigious APA Minority Fellowship

A graduate student in the MA program in Counseling Psychology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has been awarded the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship in the area of Services for Transition Age Youth. This is the first award of its kind for a student at UH Hilo. 

Rachel Gibson is a first-year graduate student whose specialization is in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The APA Minority Fellowship provides financial support of up to $10,000 for one year, and is funded by a grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

Gibson has a strong commitment to a career in mental health services and serving ethnic minority transition age youth and their families. Before entering the MA program, she worked with incarcerated and/or at-risk youth, particularly those from ethnic minority backgrounds, including Mexican American youths. Gibson noted that during this time, although most of her clients spoke proficient English, many of their families were Spanish-speaking. Gibson studied Spanish for six years and lived in a Spanish-speaking country for some time, which helped her greatly in connecting with the clients’ families.

“I’m very honored and humbled and am eager to get started with this Fellowship program,” Gibson said. “I see this as a tremendous opportunity to further my knowledge and skills and am grateful to APA for giving me this award.”

“The Fellowship is very prestigious and I’m so happy for Rachel,” said Dr. Bryan S. K. Kim, professor of psychology and director of the MA program. “The Fellowship is a testament to her commitment to addressing diversity issues in mental health and her past and present efforts in this area. 

“I interpret the Fellowship as an investment by APA in Rachel to be a leader in this underattended area of work in our communities,” he added. 

Kim will serve as a training mentor for Gibson per the Fellowship requirement.

Proposed Big Island Clean Energy Projects to be Discussed

ENGIE Hawai‘i will be hosting a televised town hall meeting on Nā Leo TV on April 30, 6 to 7 p.m. to discuss two proposed solar and energy storage projects in the Puakō and Waikoloa area. These proposed solar and energy storage projects will reduce the use of fossil fuel, bring stability to electricity prices, and protect Hawaiʻi Island’s environment for future generations.

Screen shot of website


ENGIE Hawai‘i is one of several companies who proposed clean energy projects to Hawaiian Electric as part of an effort to bring more clean, affordable energy to customers. Hawaiian Electric is expected to select projects this May to be built over the next two years.

This televised town hall meeting, which will have no studio audience, is being held in lieu of an in-person meeting in compliance with social distancing guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The interactive town hall will take questions from viewers via phone and email. 

Interested residents can tune in to ENGIE Hawaiʻi’s town hall meeting on April 30, 6 to 7 p.m. on Nā Leo TV, on cable or online at naleo.tv. The broadcast will also be archived on ENGIEHawaii.com.

More information about the proposed Puakō and Waikoloa projects, plus proposed battery storage projects on Maui and Oʻahu, can be found at ENGIEHawaii.com. Residents are also invited to sign up for the email list at ENGIEHawaii.com, send questions to info@ENGIEHawaii.com, or call (808) 315-5531.

Water Shutoffs & Late Payment Fees Suspended

Effective immediately, the Department of Water Supply (DWS), County of Hawaii is suspending service disconnections and waiving late payment fees through April 30, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, scammers may try to defraud DWS’ customers during this pandemic by threatening to shutoff service unless a payment is made. Again, DWS will not be disconnecting services during this period. If you receive one of these demands please hang-up and contact DWS’ Customer Service, at (808) 961-8060.  

In addition, in order to comply with the Governor’s “stay at home” order, DWS is extending the suspension of in-person payment collections and customer service inquiries through April 30, 2020. During this period, DWS will accept only telephone, online, auto-payment, mail, or payments left in a secured DWS payment dropbox. To pay a bill online, please visit www.hawaiidws.org, click on the “Pay Online” tab and follow the self-service portal. Customers wishing to pay by telephone should call toll-free 844-216-1994 anytime. There are no fees for these services. If there are any questions, please contact one of our Customer Service offices below.

              Customer Service Contacts:

              Hilo:                    (808) 961-8060

              Waimea:            (808) 887-3030

              Kona:                  (808) 322-0600

              Email:                  dws@hawaiidws.org

DWS is committed to provide essential, safe, and reliable water service to our customers, businesses, and communities. During this unprecedented and challenging time, DWS has modified employee work schedules and increased hygiene practices to keep its workers safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please stay healthy and do your part to prevent the spread of this virus!

HPD Begins Enforcement of Stay-at-Home Order, 18 Violations

Governor David Ige’s Third Supplementary Emergency Proclamation, dated (March 23, 2020), Section 1, orders that:

“All Persons in the State Must Stay at Home or in Their Place of Residence Pursuant to sections 127A-12(a)(5), 127A-12(a)(14), 127A-13(a)(1), and 127A-13(a)(7), HRS, all persons within the State of Hawaiʻi are ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except as necessary to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, as identified at https://www.cisa.gov/identifyingcritical-infrastructure-during-covid-19 and as further designated below or by the Director of the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA). With respect to persons residing in hotels, condominiums, townhomes, apartments, or other multi-unit dwellings, “place of residence” means the person’s individual hotel room or unit. To the extent, persons use shared or outdoor spaces when outside their residence, they must comply with the social distancing requirements set forth herein to the fullest exte nt possible. All persons may leave their home or place of residence only for essential activities or to engage in the essential businesses and operations identified herein. This order shall take effect on (March 25, 2020), at 12:01 a.m. and remain in place until 11:59 p.m. on (April 30, 2020).”

Sub-section F of the Supplementary Proclamation specifies the penalty associated with violations as follows:

  1. Criminal Penalties – Any person who intentionally or knowingly violates any provision set forth in this Section I shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, the person shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Hawai‘i Police Department has begun enforcement of this order. 

During the first week spanning (March 25-31, 2020), specific to the offense of “Prohibited Acts” (Emergency Management), Hawaiʻi Police Department officers arrested nine  persons, cited six persons, and initiated criminal cases against three persons (total of 18 violations), broken down by district as follows:

  • Kona District:  3 persons arrested, 4 persons cited
  • South Hilo District:  2 persons arrested, 2 persons cited
  • Puna District:  2 persons arrested, 1 criminal case initiated
  • Kaʻū District:  1 person arrested, 2 cases initiated
  • South Kohala District:  1 person arrested

Weekly updates of the Hawaiʻi Police enforcement efforts will be posted every Wednesday.

Traffic Volume Data for Major State Routes Now Available

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is sharing traffic volume data for major state routes on the HDOT website. The data will be updated weekly on Mondays and is available online.

HDOT is making this data available during the period of Governor Ige’s Stay-at-Home order, which became effective Statewide on March 25 and is in place through April 30, to verify the capabilities of major state routes to accommodate extended lane closure hours and to provide general data on compliance with the order.

After the Stay-at-Home order period passes, HDOT will continue to update the data as an economic indicator for the State.

Click to enlarge

The percentage change in the traffic volume data is calculated from the 2019 Average Annual Daily Traffic counts taken by permanent traffic counting stations HDOT maintains Statewide.

Hawaii Island traffic station locations used for comparison.

This data accompanies other offerings on the HDOT website such as the Highways Program Status Map (linked here) and the Lane Closure Map (linked here). Note that the Highways Program Status Map that is normally updated on the first working day of the month will be temporarily delayed, but still contains the latest available data as of March 2 on current and future HDOT projects, pavement and bridge conditions, and locations and major contributing factors of fatal crashes.

First Hawaii COVID-19 Death Possibly Travel-Related, Minor Tests Positive

The first death from COVID-19 has been confirmed as an older adult O‘ahu resident who had recently traveled from Las Vegas. DOH reports 34 new COVID-19 cases today — one is a minor and 33 are adults. The majority of cases are residents (26), one (1) is a visitor and seven (7) are unknown and pending investigation. There are now a total of 258 presumptive or confirmed cases in the state.

Community Surveillance testing has conducted roughly 380 tests to date on representative samples from every island with one (1) positive result on O‘ahu, reinforcing there is limited and localized community spread on O‘ahu.

Today, President Trump granted a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Hawai‘i triggering the release of Federal funds to help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration is in effect from Jan. 20, 2020 and is continuing. 

The disaster declaration provides assistance to individuals and households and for emergency work and repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. The measure provides direct federal assistance of 75% of the total cost.