Kim seeks to limit size of social gatherings

  • Mayor Harry Kim

A restriction on gathering sizes in both indoor and outdoor settings could resume on the Big Island following Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim’s submission Thursday of an 11th emergency rule to Gov. David Ige for approval.

The rule would impose a limit on social gathering group sizes to 10 persons in both indoor and outdoor settings; reduce group sizes of sports practices by 10 to 25 persons, and competitive play from 100 to 50 persons; and continue 14-day self-quarantine requirements for all travel to island. It also extends the “COVID-19 emergency period” through the end of September.

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“We all need to work together to stem the tide of cases in Hawaii County, to protect our community,” said Kim in a prepared statement. “Please know that we can all do our part to make it better, by avoiding gatherings, wearing face coverings, and practice social distancing.”

Kim stated earlier Thursday that a review was underway to see what “policy changes need to occur to address the growing spread of the virus,” noting many have not been following the policies of gatherings, distancing and wearing of face coverings. Kim’s eighth emergency rule in June permitted larger gatherings.

“Hawaii Island has seen a daily increase of positive cases for the past two weeks. Most of these recent cases are not travel related which means the virus is being transmitted within the community. Data from the Department of Health shows the majority of these new cases have been identified as Hilo based,” a post to Kim’s Facebook page reads.

On Thursday, state health officials reported five new COVID-19 cases on the Big Island, bringing Hawaii County’s total case count to 164 since testing began in late February. To date seven on the island have required hospitalization with two remaining hospitalized Thursday.

The five new cases on Hawaii Island were among 236 new COVID-19 cases and two new coronavirus-related deaths announced Thursday by the Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center. Maui County reported one and Oahu 230.

With the new cases, Hawaii’s total case count increased to 5,844. Of those cases, 3,813 remained active Thursday, including 30 on Hawaii Island.

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Statewide, 317, or 5% of COVID-19 patients have required hospitalization. Hawaii Island’s hospitalization rate stood 4.2% as of noon Thursday.

Of the 45 deaths reported among Hawaii residents, 37 were on Oahu, six were on Maui, one was on Lanai and one was a Kauai resident receiving treatment in Arizona at the time he died.

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