LATEST: The state has seen 30 new cases of coronavirus over the course of the week

Hawaii state Department of Health microbiologist Mark Nagata demonstrates the process for...
Hawaii state Department of Health microbiologist Mark Nagata demonstrates the process for testing a sample for coronavirus at the department's laboratory in Pearl City, Hawaii(Audrey McAvoy | AP)
Published: Mar. 20, 2020 at 3:16 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Over the weekend, the state’s coronavirus count grew to seven. By Friday, it was at 37.

And state health officials are now confirming what they’d long feared: That there is spread of the virus in the community.

On Friday afternoon, the state reported 11 new cases of coronavirus statewide.

Two of those cases, both on Oahu, are not linked to any recent travel. And the two patients have had no direct contact.

“We now have COVID-19 in our commmunity,” said state Health Department Director Bruce Anderson.

Here’s the island-by-island breakdown.

  • Total: 37 (11 new)
  • Oahu: 28 (10 new)
  • Maui: 5 (0 new)
  • Kauai 3 (1 new)
  • Big Island: 1 (0 new)

The news comes as a series of new directives go into effect in the islands aimed at enforcing social distancing and preventing crowds from gathering.

On Oahu, restaurants have been ordered to end all dine-in service.

Eateries are now only able to do take-out and delivery. Additionally, bars and night clubs are closed. Police say those that don’t comply could face fines or even arrest.

Meanwhile on Kauai, a nighttime curfew kicks in Friday night. There are exceptions to the rule, but Kauai’s mayor said it’s meant to encourage people to stay in their homes.

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Here’s more of the latest coronavirus news:

  • Several states, including New York and California, have instituted lockdowns aimed at keeping people in their homes.
  • Layoffs are mounting in the islands as businesses close their doors and tourism comes to a screeching halt. The avalanche of unemployment claims has overwhelmed the system.
  • In Hawaii, hundreds of thousands of Hawaii residents are working from home as businesses institute social distancing procedures.

The U.S. Navy said the Rim of the Pacific naval exercises — more commonly known as RIMPAC — will still be held in Hawaii this summer.

At least two dozen countries are expected to participate in the world’s largest maritime exercise. In 2018, those nations included Korea, France, Germany and the UK — countries that now have thousands of coronavirus cases.

The military said planners and medical personnel will continue to monitor the situation.

Italy has recorded its highest day-to-day- rise in the number of deaths of persons infected with COVID-19.

Civil Protection Chief Angelo Borrelli announced Friday there were 627 new deaths. The number of new cases also shot staggeringly higher: 5,986 cases.

That brings the official total of new deaths overall to 4,032 and of cases to 47,021.

Authorities said most of the dead had existing health problems before they were sickened with the coronavirus, such as heart disease and diabetes. The soaring numbers in the country with Europe's largest outbreak come despite a national lockdown to drastically limit the reasons citizens can leave their homes.

Mayors and governors throughout the country have been demanding even stricter measures. Italy’s national government is widely expected to respond soon.

Amid coronavirus crisis, medical supplies urgently needed from coast to coast

New York and Britain are asking 65,000 retired nurses and doctors to return to work to help fight the coronavirus.

Cuomo tweeted on Thursday that New York state “is calling on recently retired health care professionals” to sign up as reserve staff.

The state also needs qualified medical and nursing school students and staff.

The UK government is sending letters to 50,000 former nurses and 15,000 retired doctors, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he hoped “many, many thousands will respond” to the appeal. He said volunteers would be given training over the next few weeks before being allocated to hospitals.

Final-year nursing and medical students could also be drafted to bolster health care staff.

This story will be updated.

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