Highlights of Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 from Friday, March 27, 2020
In meeting with the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 Friday, representatives from the Hawai'i Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA) and the Airports Division of the Department of Transportation reported that they did not have a plan for inter-island passengers prior to meeting with the committee.
Adjutant General Kenneth Hara, Incident Commander for HIEMA, reported that the decision was made to restrict inter-island travel, and that airline restrictions will be similar to recently imposed airline passenger restrictions. Beforehand, the new restrictions and procedures for passengers from outside of the state did not apply to inter-island travel, as those flying between islands were exempt from the 14-day quarantine.
As a result from the meeting, Adjutant General Hara and DOT Deputy Director Ross Higashi of the Airports Division said their respective organizations will be putting together a mutually agreed-on plan for inter-island travelers.
Adjutant General Hara also said small boat harbor restrictions related to inter-island travel will require additional work.
Other meeting highlights include:
U.S. Senator Brian Schatz reported Friday that Hawai‘i would receive at least $1.2 billion from the federal stimulus package of bills in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eleven cruise ships have canceled calling on Honolulu since the announcement of Hawai'i’s new restrictions.
On Thursday, March 26, there were approximately 1,600 arrivals by air. Prior to pandemic restrictions, there were around 35,000 arrivals per day. Airline passengers are not being screened for temperatures, only flight crews.
Director Nolan Espinda of the Department of Public Safety said that concerning inmate screening for COVID-19, a plan for temporal scans is in place, but however, two facilities do not have the no-touch equipment rule in effect. No inmate has tested positive for the virus.
According to Dr. Elizabeth E. Char, consultant for the Department of Health (DOH), the state is a little more prepared compared to others when it comes the supply of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). Depending on the progression of the virus, Hawai‘i has enough PPE supplies for possibly several weeks. She said the state is working on getting additional supplies and not waiting to expend all supplies before restocking.
As of Friday, March 27, the DOH reported that local private and state laboratories performed 5,747 tests, and that all sentinel tests have come back negative, which indicates community spread is limited. The number of tests conducted represents 4% of Hawaii’s population, compared to South Korea, which has tested approximately 7% of its total population.