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Tourism-dependent Hawaii hit by unemployment during pandemic

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii is seeing unemployment claims soar during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the U.S. Employment and Training Administration, applications for temporary unemployment assistance in Hawaii increased during the week ending on March 21 as the U.S. economy bears the weight of growing fears around COVID-19. The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations says that for just this week through Wednesday, over 67,000 initial claims were filed. That's nearly 11% of Hawaii's eligible pool of workers. So far, 106 people statewide have tested positive for coronavirus.


Travelers landing in Hawaii find tough quarantine rules

HONOLULU (AP) — Travelers arriving in Hawaii are finding a new requirement that they hole up in hotel rooms or their homes for 14 days to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Most tourists are staying away from the islands. They got the message not to come after Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced the new quarantine order over the weekend. Many of those collecting bags at the Honolulu airport are Hawaii residents returning home. More than 100 people in Hawaii have tested positive for COVID-19. Most had traveled out-of-state or been exposed to people who had. Seven had to be hospitalized.


Guam governor suspends public meeting rights due to virus

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — The governor of Guam has temporarily suspended some parts of the Open Government Law in response to the coronavirus outbreak, including the public’s right to attend government meetings. The Pacific Daily News reported Democratic Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed the executive order to suspend open meeting rights through April 13. Leon Guerrero says Guam Attorney General Leevin Taitano Camacho recommended suspending sections of the Open Government Law. Boards and commissions will be required to keep minutes and provide meeting information. The governor says she is authorized to suspend government agency operating rules during a public health emergency.


Maui residents use signs, checkpoints to stop highway travel

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Maui residents have used signs and checkpoints to help enforce a government order keeping visitors off Hana Highway during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The Maui News reported Democratic Gov. David Ige instructed the state Department of Transportation to limit access along the highway on Maui's eastern coast. The governor has restricted the highway to residents, first responders and delivery trucks. The Hana Highway Regulation committee plans to establish two checkpoints and residents have painted signs to discourage recreational travel along the road. Area residents were also seen asking nonresident vehicles on the highway to turn around.


Tech issues hampered information on tsunami watch for Hawaii

HONOLULU (AP) — Technical issues made it difficult to get information about a tsunami watch for Hawaii and its subsequent cancellation. The brief watch was canceled Tuesday after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck in the northern Pacific near Russia's far eastern Kuril Island. Susan Buchanan, a spokeswoman for the National Weather Service, said the watch did not appear on the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center’s website because the site was discontinued and had been automatically redirecting visitors to The redirect expired Tuesday, so visitors needed to go directly to to receive watches and warnings. Civic tech advocate Ryan Ozawa says the breakdowns were disappointing.


Hawaii: Lab worker recorded negative result as positive

HONOLULU (AP) — The director of Hawaii's state public laboratory says it mistakenly reported it had its first death from the coronavirus because a worker at the lab accidentally recorded a negative test as positive. The laboratory's director says a supervisor failed to catch the error and the state Department of Health reported the incorrect result. The laboratory discovered the mistake the following day after a review of the worksheet recording the test result showed a discrepancy. The state lab has implemented an additional layer of review to catch such errors. So far, 95 people in Hawaii have tested positive for the coronavirus.