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Mayor to seek scaled back gatherings, other restrictions

Cluster at Harbor Lights identified; public areas to get a deep cleaning

MICHAEL VICTORINO Gatherings scaled back

Maui County is seeking to tighten up rules such as scaling back the number of people in gatherings and imposing other restrictions as Maui continues to see double digit positive cases daily.

During his news conference Monday afternoon, Mayor Michael Victorino said that by today he will be sending to Gov. David Ige a request to possibly scale back gatherings from 10 people to maybe five.

Victorino said he is “not sure if it will be in effect for the New Year.”

But he cautioned people from “house hopping” where some families traditionally stop by others’ homes to wish them a Happy New Year and partake in a cocktail and or a meal.

“This year, let’s not do that. Let’s virtually do that,” he added.

Maui County as of Saturday has been averaging 18 new cases daily in the past week with a test positivity rate of 3.2 percent, the highest of all counties, according to state Department of Health data released Monday. Honolulu County is second with a 3 percent positivity rate in the last seven days ending Saturday.

Victorino added that there could be some changes to doing business and also some stricter regulations for incoming visitors and returning residents to the islands. But he added that those proposals are being finalized and need to be approved by Ige.

Also Monday, it was confirmed that there is a COVID-19 cluster at the Harbor Lights condominium in Kahului.

Currently there are 10 confirmed cases, said Dr. Lorrin Pang, Maui District health officer, during the news conference.

He compared it to the outbreak on Lanai where when the cluster there was growing it was around 20 cases, then ballooned to 106. Pang said Harbor Lights “might be higher.”

But he credited the condominium for stopping mumps at the living area more than several years ago. Pang said, like COVID-19, mumps is also airborne.

“I know Harbor Lights can do it,” Pang said of stopping the cluster.

He said there should be no embarrassment when one comes down with these illnesses.

A man who answered the phone at the condominium office Monday afternoon said that they were taking care of the situation.

A sign at the condominium last week said that Harbor Lights was not allowing any visitors, no gatherings and that courtyard areas are closed. It advised people to stay indoors with their families, wear a mask and notify others of possible exposure.

Victorino did not name the condominium early on during this news conference, but did confirm it when a media outlet named the place.

He said he has ordered cleaning and sanitation of public areas at the complex and that Minit Medical was going there to conduct testing Wednesday.

As for the $900 billion pandemic relief package signed by President Donald Trump on Sunday, Victorino said unlike the other relief funds, this one will not be coming directly to the county.

But rather it will go directly to agencies such as the state Department of Health and the state Department of Education.

In other matters, Minit Medical in its partnership with the county is offering free COVID-19 testing at all of its sites Wednesday.

All participants must pre-register by vising minitmed.com/pre-register-maui-covid-19.

Participants are asked to come to the Minit Med sites at their designated time. The test is not valid for travel.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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