Health official says COVID-19 cluster on Maui is tied to large beach parties

Health official says COVID-19 cluster on Maui is tied to large beach parties
Dozens of fed up residents held signs along Hana Highway Friday afternoon saying they have had enough (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui’s mayor is calling out party goers for violating emergency rules in the middle of a pandemic.

“These individuals and groups that have been blatant as they’re being abusive to what we call respect to this community,” said Mike Victorino.

In Maui County, indoor and outdoor social gatherings are limited to no more than 10.

Victorino said they have done enough education. Now it's time for arrests.

“I don’t think the education is necessary anymore. They will be cited or arrested,” he said.

The crackdown on the Valley Isle comes as the county logged four more COVID-19 cases on Friday.

Video taken last month at Baldwin Beach Park in Paia shows dozens of people not practicing social distancing and not wearing masks.

“The accounts are 50, 75, 100, 200 people on various different occasions, it occurs every Friday night at Baldwin Beach,” said Kipahulu resident Theresa Kapaku. “The residents have told me that they avoid this area because of those activities.”

Dozens of fed up residents held signs along Hana Highway Friday afternoon saying they have had enough.

“You can tell on social media that there is a line in the sand and there are people who don’t believe that this a problem. Therefore, they continue to get together in social gatherings and highly risking the community to exposure to this virus,” Kapaku said.

Maui’s District Health Officer Doctor Lorrin Pang said about half a dozen coronavirus cases are tied to large beach parties and dozens of people were seriously exposed.

“There’s a case and he exposed other people, over 100, 150,” Dr. Pang said. “Of the cases we know, there might be five or ten others and we’ve seen these big gatherings where people kind of get a little bit forgetful of those things.”

Organizers of Friday’s protest said they were successful in stopping Friday night’s but say more needs to be done.

“Please help us get back to zero as quickly as possible so that we can reopen the economy and get back to a normal life,” Kapaku said.

Victorino said he has heard those calls for help.

“I’m tired of being nice to everyone and saying please and not seeing any results and the kind of numbers we’ve been seeing over the last week or so,” Victorino said.

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