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Lanai stay-at-home order starts today

Victorino optimistic about surge test results from island

Lanai, which is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak, was pretty deserted and quiet Sunday. RUSSELL DEJETLEY photo

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino expressed optimism about taming Lanai’s outbreak ahead of the rural island’s stay-at-home order that goes into effect today.

Approved by Gov. David Ige on Monday, the emergency rules order people on Lanai to stay in their residences or place of lodging — except for essential activities, such as purchasing food or medical visits.

The order will remain in place until Nov. 11.

The county’s smallest inhabited island with a population of 3,200 saw cases recently shoot up from zero to about 80 in a week’s time. Still, Victorino said recent testing on Lanai may offer signs of hope. Nearly 1,000 tests were done Saturday and results will likely be disclosed today, he said. The surge testing follows another 1,800 tests done Oct. 18 to Friday.

“I have preliminary reports that the numbers from the surge test that we did on Saturday are extremely good, and we will be getting those numbers firmed up tomorrow,” he said during a news conference Monday. “That may change a lot of what is happening on Lanai.”

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino is shown arriving on Lanai on Friday morning. RUSSELL DEJETLEY photo

None of Lanai’s cases required hospitalization as of Monday, he added.

The stay-at-home orders that start today call for people only to leave their home or place of lodging to conduct essential activities, to perform essential government functions or to operate essential businesses, including financial institutions, supermarkets and agricultural operations.

Only one member should leave the household at a time, unless other family members, such as children or disabled people, can’t be left alone.

Masks are mandated at all times in public.

Also travel to and from Lanai is restricted to essential work or medical purposes. All other travelers must quarantine for 14 days. Essential workers to Lanai may request limited quarantine through the county.

Michael Victorino

Sen. Majority Leader J. Kalani English, whose district includes Lanai, said the stay-at-home order is critical to ensuring the health and safety of the island’s residents.

“I’m encouraging everyone to abide by the county’s order to stay home, shelter in place and avoid trips outside, unless it is absolutely necessary,” English said in a statement. “Mayor Victorino and I remain in close contact, and I will continue to work with him to ensure that the necessary resources are made available for the Lanai residents.”

The state Department of Health on Monday said that the active cluster includes 77 confirmed and three probable cases for a total cluster count of 80 cases.

Large social gatherings likely contributed to this outbreak, according to DOH. A spokeswoman Monday said that a memorial service held on the island is under investigation as a contributor.

Household transmission has been a factor in the case counts, DOH added.

Pointing to social gatherings spurring COVID-19 spread, county Managing Director Sandy Baz said community members must remain on guard.

“This shows how quickly this virus can spread when we attend large parties, when we refuse to wear masks or physically distance from others,” he said during the news conference.

The county continues to work with DOH, local health care providers and the Lanai Incident Command Post on providing emergency support and resources, Victorino said in a statement Monday evening.

“Everyone needs to do their part to ensure we protect our friends, family and loved ones,” he added.

No new cases were reported in Maui County on Monday.

The state logged 38 new COVID-19 cases Monday, including 26 on Oahu, nine on Hawaii island, one on Kauai, and two diagnosed out of state.

As a whole, the state has had 14,709 cases, including 12,864 on Oahu, 1,230 on Hawaii island, 401 on Maui, 17 on Molokai, 79 on Lanai, 62 on Kauai and 56 diagnosed out of state.

In other related developments, Bank of Hawaii’s Lanai Branch announced adjusted operating hours in light of the stay-at-home orders effective today. Hours for kupuna and at-risk individuals and their caregivers will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday to Friday; general banking hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday.

For information on the Lanai stay-at-home orders, visit https://www.mauicounty.gov/DocumentCenter/View/124561/2020-10-26-COM-rules—fully-executed?bidId=

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

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