Roth: No new restrictions despite record day of infections

No changes will be made to the county’s emergency rules even after the Big Island set a new record Thursday for the most new COVID-19 cases in a single day.

According to the state Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, there were 508 new cases Thursday on Hawaii Island, the highest number in a single day since Jan. 3, when 359 cases were reported.


Statewide, 4,789 new cases were reported Thursday, another single-day record. The previous single-day record for the state was set Dec. 31, when 3,226 cases were reported.

The DOH also reported eight new hospitalizations statewide and four new COVID-related deaths.

Mayor Mitch Roth announced Thursday that no changes will be made to the current emergency rules despite the surge. West Hawaii Today reported Tuesday the county planned no changes.

According to Roth’s statement, the rise in cases does not meet certain indicators that would precipitate changing the restrictions, such as a drastic rise in hospitalizations, a strain on medical resources, a lack of first responders or medical staffing, or an increased severity of illnesses.

“We remain encouraged by the low number of hospitalizations islandwide and believe that we are turning a corner in regards to the efficacy of the virus,”Roth said in the statement. “Our administration is monitoring the situation intently and is prepared to pivot if need be.

“However, the data shows us that we can continue moving forward, and that’s what we intend to do. We need to keep businesses open and families working, so long as it’s safe to do so. Our ability to rebound from this pandemic and return to a vibrant Hawaii Island is dependent on a healthy and thriving workforce, and having one means that we have to keep doors open and lights on.”

The surge in cases comes nearly a week after New Year’s Day celebrations. Health officials last week predicted that holiday gatherings would lead to a COVID spike about a week later.

Email Michael Brestovansky at

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