Hawaii to extend COVID-19 restrictions due to high cases
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The coronavirus situation in Hawaii has fluctuated frequently since the state reopened to tourists and, at least more recently, things have been more down than up.
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Hawaii is extending some of its COVID-19 restrictions for another 60 days in light of the delta variant. Gov. David Ige on Oct. 1 said he would extend a mandate requiring masks to be worn indoors. Caps on indoor and outdoor dining would also continue.
If you have travel planned to Hawaii, you should also know the state extended the “Safe Travels” pretravel testing program. The program requires all non-vaccinated visitors to show a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before departure to Hawaii. Travelers who aren’t fully vaccinated and don’t show a negative COVID-19 test are required to quarantine for 10 days.
“Today, the number of cases has been trending lower, and the number of patients in our hospitals has continued to fall,” Ige said, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “However, COVID continues to cause high rates of infection throughout our state.”
Ige is referring to a surge the state saw in positive cases of the coronavirus this summer. The state reached a peak on Sept. 2 with more than 900 positive cases that day, according to data from The New York Times. Hospitalizations and deaths also peaked in early September, but all three figures have significantly dropped recently. For instance, positive cases of COVID-19 are down 45% from two weeks prior.
Hawaii had hoped to reopen and end the Safe Travels program entirely once 70% of the population had been fully vaccinated. Currently, 68% of residents are fully vaccinated (71% have received at least one dose). But even though things appear to be on an upswing, the state still isn’t exactly keen on having visitors right now.
Ige famously begged tourists to avoid travel to Hawaii in August, saying, “It is a risky time to be traveling right now. It is not a good time to travel to the islands.”
But tourists are not generally the cause of the COVID-19 community spread right now, and Ige confirmed in August that most cases were from unvaccinated locals. According to Safe Travels data, just over 1,000 of the 542,000 visitors to Hawaii were required to quarantine upon arrival between Sept. 3 and Oct. 3.
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