HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Responding to critics that say he’s not doing enough to tackle an increase in COVID-19 cases on the Big Island, Mayor Harry Kim said he will likely institute a broader shutdown if infections don’t decline — and if experts believe a stricter lockdown is necessary.
In recent weeks, the number of new cases on the Big Island has continued to rise.
The Department of Health reports 34 new cases of coronavirus for a total of 263 active cases on Hawaii Island. Six deaths have been reported. Effective today all beach parks are closed. Have a safe Labor Day Weekend.
— COH Civil Defense (@CivilDefenseHI) September 4, 2020
Since the pandemic began, the Big Island has seen 469 coronavirus cases.
Of those, more than 200 are “active,” which remains they could still potentially be infectious.
Hawaii County closed beach parks Friday in a bid to prevent gatherings. The mayor said he’s also working to bolster testing, including in rural areas.
To critics who say the county should be instituting stricter measures, Kim said he’s open to them.
“If this warrants a shutdown … it will be done,” he said.
#LIVE: Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim is responding to criticism of his COVID-19 leadership after six coronavirus deaths on the island and a rising number of cases. #HINews #HNN
Posted by Hawaii News Now on Friday, September 4, 2020
Among those questioning the mayor’s actions is state Sen. Kai Kahele. He said a cluster of cases at the Milolii fishing village on the Big Island is of grave concern — and needs a rapid response.
“I’m very concerned right now,” he said, adding the isolated Native Hawaiian community of about 300 residents is at high risk of severe symptoms from COVID-19. “They need government help.”
Hilo Medical Center said Friday that it is caring for 11 coronavirus patients, three of whom are in the ICU.
Additionally, five staff members at the hospital have tested positive for the virus.
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