Hawaii begs travelers not to come as COVID-19 peaks
Hawaii does not have the power to ban flights to the islands, but tourists continue to pour in, including direct flights every day from Chicago. Tourism is one of the biggest obstacles to tackling the state’s worst wave of COVID-19 this year. Governor David Ige begged travelers not to come unless absolutely necessary.
“It’s a risky time to travel right now,” he said at a press conference on Monday. “We are seeing more COVID patients in hospitals and intensive care units filling up. “
The Democratic governor said the state is reaching a critical point as acute care beds may need to be turned into intensive care beds.
Queen’s Health Systems, Hawaii’s largest medical system, has declared its area of western Oahu a disaster area.
“The number of new positive COVID cases is increasing, and this worries us as this translates into more patients who will need emergency care in hospitals. Between all normal emergencies and COVID cases , it overwhelms our systems. “
Ige says if the trend continues, tourists will enter a foreclosure situation. Tourists would be transported directly to their hotels and would not be allowed to leave.
During the last lockdown in 2020, former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams was cited for leaving his hotel to go to a local park. He fought the charge in court.
Hawaii requires COVID-19 testing at approved testing sites in the Americas before entering the state. People with vaccination cards can bypass certain safety measures.
However, four tourists were recently arrested for using fake vaccination cards at airports. This indicates that many more may have entered the state with false documents and were not caught.
Chicago is a point of entry for flights from the US East Coast and Midwest to Hawaii. United Airlines offers direct flights from O’Hare International Airport to the islands of Oahu and Maui.
Governor Ige did not explain what circumstances would trigger a new lockdown affecting tourists and locals.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said all large gatherings in his city and county are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. It will affect concerts, sports, weddings and other such events.
The Hawaii State Department of Health reported 571 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. 359 are on the main island of Oahu. There are 107 on the Big Island, 23 on Kauai, 79 on Maui, and two on the smaller island of Lanai.
Most of the cases involved unvaccinated people.