Here we go again…the Democratic Lt. Governor of Hawaii, Josh Green, just suggested that the state could enter a 72-hour stay-at-home lockdown weekend. This came after the state reported a record-high number of COVID-19 cases.
The new record high for the Aloha State tallied up to 1,678 cases out of a state population of almost 1.5 million. This high number does include a partial catch-up of past reporting due to the fact that one lab experienced some system errors from the dates of August 15 to August 25. This was reported in the Associated Press.
As far as hospitalizations go in Hawaii, they remain steady at approximately 410 to 420 COVID-19 patients. Just this past weekend, there were two deaths and a total of 25 in the past week. The total number of cases in the state is 62,229 and there have been 589 deaths throughout the entire pandemic. The only states that have had fewer deaths are Alaska and Vermont.
Lt. Governor Green told Hawaii’s KHON2 on Monday that a potential stay-at-home order would help stop the spread of the Delta variant. He also hoped that this order would give the health care system some relief. Green reportedly also said that the “pause” would not impact businesses or schools. But some critics are wondering how this could be true if everyone was forced to stay home.
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“Today, we’re at 414,” Green said of current hospitalizations. “Now, tragically, some of the counts have been lowered because there have been some fatalities in the last few days.”
The Democratic governor of the Aloha State, David Ige, made it clear that a lockdown is not currently on the table.
“There are currently no plans to shut down,” Ige wrote on social media. “All posts on social media and being distributed by other means are not true.”
There have been some growing fears of a Labor Day increase in COVID-19 cases in Hawaii because of events like a party at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline which saw hundreds of people gathering together. They were violating state restrictions against large gatherings.
Jason Redulla works for Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources. He told the Associated Press that he was angry people were gathering given the recent surge in case totals.
“I’ve instructed my officers, going forward, to confiscate any equipment or supplies used for these gatherings,” Redulla told the AP. “If the loss of personal property, taken for evidence in criminal prosecutions, is not enough to get these people to start acting responsibly, we hope it doesn’t take their friends or loved ones getting sick or dying to wake them up.”
The president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, Hilton Raethel, discussed with KHON 2 that the state is currently experiencing the worst of the pandemic.
“The reality is [the pandemic] is still here, and we right now in Hawaii, are going through the most severe part of the pandemic in almost this two-year period,” he said.
There is a total of 55% of Hawaiians who are fully vaccinated.
Raethel said, “People who are not vaccinated, they’re just playing the odds and hoping that they don’t get sick or hoping they don’t get hospitalized, and they hope they don’t die, and when you play the odds, some people win, and some people lose, and unfortunately, we have an increasing number of individuals who are playing the odds and losing.”
Raethel said with conviction that if everyone simply followed basic habits like social distancing, mask-wearing, and handwashing, the pandemic would be under control. But this is countered by the fact that months of lockdown in 2020 didn’t keep it under control.