HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city has reserved hundreds more hotel rooms in Waikiki for quarantine facilities as the state braces for an uptick in COVID-19 cases with the return of travelers.
The city said it has reserved up to 221 rooms at the Park Shore Hotel for those who may need to quarantine. Additionally, 46 apartment units have been reserved at the Waikiki Beachside.
“How we control the spread is by isolation and quarantine,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said.
He added that as tourism returns to the islands, he expects cases to go up.
“We must stay vigilant,” he said, adding that the quarantine facilities will be available to anyone who can’t self-isolate at home, including first responders and healthcare workers.
“There is a place. There is a way. And there is compassion here to get you into a room.”
The addition of the properties means that Oahu in coordination with the state Health Department has now secured a potential total of 454 rooms for isolation and quarantine.
Seventy-five of those rooms are occupied.
Last week, the city met with the Waikiki Neighborhood Board.
According to Bob Finley, chairman of the board, residents expressed concerns regarding Waikiki Beachside and cited high foot traffic in the area.
“Residents who live in the area are concerned they might walk out of their condo one morning and walk into the people that just happen to take a walk out of the quarantine area," said Finley.
“We also made a commitment to go back next month if the community actually sees this actually having a negative impact on their community, we’ll be back to answer those questions," said Pamela Witty Oakland, executive director of the city’s department of community services. "Once folks come in , they’re going stay in the facility, it’s not a shelter where folks are going to be on the outside of the building.”
Finley said they were told around the clock security and access control will be provided.
Although Finley says they really had no input in the relief efforts, he says it’s an important step to protect residents.
“Personally, I think it’s a good program," said Finley. "We need to take care of our people, we don’t want them spreading this disease needlessly.”
To seek accommodations in a quarantine hotel room, call the Hawaii CARES line at 832-3100.
The state launched its much-anticipated traveler testing program Thursday, and the state has already seen more than 30,000 trans-Pacific arrivals.
Of those, about 20,000 identified themselves as visitors.