After uptick in new COVID-19 cases, mayor urges Oahu to ‘get back on track’
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A recent uptick in new COVID-19 cases on Oahu could slow or reverse the city’s reopening plans, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell warned Monday.
“Let’s get back on track,” he said. “We need to do more. We need to dig deep.”
[Read more: State mask policy doesn’t go far enough, lawmakers and economists agree]
The state has seen five straight days of triple-digit increases in new infections. On Sunday, Hawaii saw 128 new cases. Of those, 105 were on Oahu.
Oahu had 53 new cases on Monday, meanwhile, out of 64 statewide.
Right now, Oahu is in Tier 2 of its four-tier reopening plan. The mayor had hoped the island could get to Tier 3 by Thanksgiving, allowing groups of up to 10 people to gather and more restrictions to ease.
Instead, with a seven-day daily average of 90 new cases and a 3% positivity rate, Oahu is poised to remain in Tier 2 ― in which gatherings are limited to five people ― or fall back to Tier 1.
Caldwell said if cases do drop, the earliest Oahu could get to Tier 3 is the day before Thanksgiving.
“Let’s double down and continue to work toward Tier 3,” he said.
A drop to Tier 1 could have significant impacts on Oahu businesses.
Gyms would not be allowed to operate indoors, restaurants would need to limit parties to no more than five people from the same household, and legal short-term rentals wouldn’t be allowed.
The uptick in cases on Oahu comes as Hawaii slowly works to reopen its tourism industry with a pre-travel testing program that allows visitors to forgo a mandatory quarantine.
The program is open to mainland and Japanese travelers, and could soon expand.
Some have suggested that reopening tourism has driven up cases, but others contend it’s actually residents putting down their guards ― as it was during a second COVID-19 over the summer.
This story will be updated.
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