Hawaii extends COVID-19 travel restrictions for two months

Published on : Monday, October 4, 2021


Hawaii Governor David Ige has decided to extend emergency orders related to travel restrictions and mandatory usage of masks amid ongoing concerns about rising numbers of COVID-19 infections. The Governor said the new restrictions would stay in effect for 60 days.

As per the latest rules, it is mandatory to wear masks in indoor public spaces. All individuals will now require to be completely vaccinated even while entering a food establishment for either dining in or simple pick up. All visitors are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result within 72 hours of arriving in Hawaii. Travellers who fail to present that documentation will be subjected to 10-day quarantine.

Despite approaching the once highly regarded 70% vaccination rate to achieve herd mentality the Governor no longer sees crossing the threshold as a sign of ease of restrictions. The governor said he was concerned that the seven-day average of new daily cases will continue to exceed 300. He noted that while the number is down from late August when the figure approached 900, it is still higher than last year’s peak.

Earlier this year Ige had hoped to lift restrictions once 70% of the state’s population was vaccinated, but he said “everything changed” with the spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the disease. On Friday, 68% of the state’s population was fully vaccinated.

Hawaii has been battling extremely high COVID-19 numbers in terms of new cases and deaths, due to the terrific Delta variants. The highly contagious nature of the Delta variants has made the once landmark goal for easing restrictions now negligible. It is no more unusual for the island to witness double-digit death counts in a single day. The Honolulu morgue has had to place 3 refrigerated containers on property in order to accommodate the high number of bodies being received as well as to contain those that have passed from COVID, which right now is most of them.

The Governor said he was watching closely whether hospitals have enough beds and staff to care for the sick. He noted Hawaii’s geographic isolation means patients cannot drive to neighbouring states for health care if local hospitals are full.

Governor Ige explained that the seven-day average of new daily cases remains higher than 300. The numbers are frighteningly higher than when COVID-19 made its first appearance. At one point in August of this year, there were nearly 900 new cases recorded in Hawaii in a single day. The greatest concern is for the healthcare workers and hospitals who are severely overworked. The island is also constantly monitoring the numbers of beds available for COVID patients so that hospitals can still accept other types of patients that need medical care

Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, who is also an ER medical practioner has noted that most of those being hospitalized right now as COVID patients, are those who are unvaccinated. The data shows that close to 90% of those needing in-hospital treatment for COVID did not receive any vaccine, and that percentage remains consistent day after day.

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