Governor David Ige has approved a new stay-at-home order for O‘ahu that will start Thursday, Aug. 27. The announcement was made during a news conference Tuesday morning.
It will remain in effect for at least the next two weeks only for the island of O‘ahu. During this period, government officials plan to up the number of tests in order to reopen safely.
“An order to stay at home will keep people alive,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
The order comes after an increase in hospitalizations during the month of August. The number of cumulative hospitalizations and those in hospitals currently has doubled in only 15 days.
As of Aug. 25, there have been 397 cumulative hospitalizations with 270 of those cases in the hospital now.
Hawai‘i has been seeing triple-digit numbers of cases almost everyday this month. Gov. Ige and Mayor Caldwell say that this increase has been straining the healthcare system.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams was also in attendance to this morning’s news conference. He detailed a plan that will allow the healthcare system to conduct 5,000 tests per day, as opposed to around 2,500 tests now.
This surge testing program is “adaptive to where the need is,” said Adams. Testing will be free for all who need it and a doctor’s referral is not required.
“It really only has to be temporary while we get testing, while we get contact tracing, while we get isolation done,” said Adams.
He also attributed the increase in testing measures to the toll that the virus has taken on certain communities in the state. Pacific Islanders make up just 4% of the state population but hold 30% of the state’s cases.
All non-essential businesses will be closed during this stay-at-home period. Restaurants will only be allowed to conduct take-out orders. Child care, construction, healthcare and some educational services will be allowed to remain open. Religious services will be under more restrictions during this stay-at-home order.
Beaches and parks will remain closed. Beaches will only be open for water activities.
“Before it's too late, this order comes to save lives,” said Lt. Gov. Green.
There have been 215 cases as of Tuesday. 201 are on O‘ahu, 11 on Big Island and 3 on Maui.
To get a test, Adams emphasized registering for one on www.doineedacovid19test.com.