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Deferral of property tax payments offered

Pointing to the financial hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino announced Friday a one-time reprieve from penalties for late real property tax payments.

Taxpayers will receive a deferral of the 10 percent penalty if paying after the due date of Aug. 20 and until Oct. 20. However, taxpayers still will accrue a 1 percent monthly interest charge for the unpaid balance after Aug. 20.

Taxpayers are allowed to spread out payments from Aug. 20 through Oct. 20; any outstanding balance owed as of Oct. 21 will be assessed the 10 percent penalty; and if there is an outstanding balance as of Dec. 31, the homeowner will lose the exemption associated with the property.

For information, visit www.mauipropertytax.com.

Meanwhile, the state announced late Friday that an elderly Honolulu man died of COVID-19, the state’s 18th death. The last reported death was May 3.

The state Department of Health released information on the fatality in a news release that cited a recent DOH survey indicating residents are letting down their guard when it comes to COVID-19 prevention.

“This is the worst way to emphasize the need for all of us to continue safe practices such as physical distancing, wearing of masks and hand-washing,” Gov. David Ige said in the news release. “We must protect our kupuna and others who are at high risk, by practicing personal responsibility, especially around others outside our own immediate family or household.”

During the mayor’s news conference Friday, Victorino said testing will be key to the county’s ongoing COVID-19 emergency response. He said nearly 300 people participated in antibody blood testing and PCR diagnostic testing at COVID-19 drive-thru events Wednesday to Friday in West, South and Central Maui.

Minit Medical Urgent Care conducted 179 antibody tests and 106 PCR diagnostic tests. Minit Medical will be calling individuals with all results, which are expected to take one to three days.

“Mahalo again to Minit Medical for partnering with us to provide drive-thru testing for our residents in multiple areas,” Victorino said. “I also want to thank Parks and Recreation (Department) and Maui Police Department for continuing to support our efforts. We know these testing efforts will be key in our ongoing COVID-19 emergency response.”

State health officials reported 17 new COVID-19 cases Friday, including 14 on Oahu, one on Kauai and two Hawaii residents who were diagnosed out of state. Since the start of tracking, total positive COVID-19 tests are now at 866.

The total includes 608 on Oahu, 122 in Maui County, 86 on Hawaii island and 34 in Kauai County, according to health officials. Sixteen Hawaii residents were diagnosed outside of the state.

Twelve of the deaths have been on Oahu and six on Maui.

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.

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