Hawaii Governor Urges Tourists to Stay Away Amid Covid Surge

Facing a surge of Covid-19 circumstances that’s straining hospitals, Gov. David Ige of Hawaii requested vacationers to keep away.

“It’s not a good time to travel to the islands,” he mentioned. “The visitors who choose to come to the island will not have the typical kind of holiday that they expect to get when they visit Hawaii.”

The governor’s remarks got here at a information convention on Monday after the island of Oahu mentioned it was imposing tighter restrictions on gatherings.

Starting Aug. 25, indoor gatherings of greater than 10 individuals and outside gatherings of greater than 25 in Oahu are prohibited, mentioned Mayor Rick Glangiardi. The new rule will keep in place for a minimum of 28 days and can have an effect on all occasions, together with these which can be professionally organized, a change from earlier restrictions.

“We really thought we saw the light at the end of the tunnel,” Mr. Blangiardi mentioned at a information convention. “But over the last several weeks, cases have surged and the Delta variant has proved to be more than formidable.”

The governor mentioned he absolutely supported the actions that Oahu had taken.

Since July 1, Hawaii has skilled a pointy rise in new circumstances. The wave peaked at 729 new infections on Aug. 19, greater than double the quantity the state had at its earlier excessive final fall, in accordance to a New York Times database. In the previous two weeks, new circumstances elevated 37 p.c in Honolulu County and hospitalizations rose greater than double.

Mr. Blangiardi mentioned that after in depth conversations with state well being officers and well being care suppliers, it was decided that giant gatherings have been the primary explanation for the fast communal unfold just lately.

The restrictions imply that athletic occasions on the University of Hawaii will proceed with out spectators, and that giant live shows on the Waikiki Shell can be canceled. The mayor mentioned that individuals would nonetheless give you the option to maintain weddings, funerals and luaus, so long as they adhered to crowd limits. Restaurants will proceed to function at 50 p.c, and youth sports activities can end their seasons so long as mother and father unfold themselves out on the fields as spectators.

Hawaii was the final state to develop vaccines to all adults in April, and solely 55 p.c of the state is absolutely vaccinated. At the information convention on Monday, officers mentioned they have been involved in regards to the low vaccination charges in Oahu and the big variety of younger women and men with Covid-19 on the island’s intensive care items.

Dr. James Ireland, the chief of the Honolulu Emergency Medical Services, mentioned that over the previous couple of weeks, island hospitals had seen a web improve of 10 to 14 sufferers a day. He warned that “very, very soon” hospitals wouldn’t have the capability to look after sufferers and that emergency providers have been shut to “maxed out.”

Although giant gatherings seem to be the reason for the present unfold, officers emphasised that one of the best ways to struggle the virus was by getting vaccinated. According to the Hawaii Department of Health, the extremely contagious Delta variant, which is extra harmful for individuals who usually are not vaccinated, now accounts for 93 p.c of the state’s Covid-19 infections.

“That’s the way out of this,” Dr. Ireland mentioned. “Vaccinations.”