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Posted on Jan 25, 2021 in COVID-19, COVID-19 News Releases, Latest Department News, Newsroom

Office of the Governor:

State of the State Address Focuses on COVID-19 and Recovery

Reiterating the need for everyone in Hawai‘i to be personally responsible and to practice the three W’s of COVID-19 safety (wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance), Gov. Ige’s 2021 State of the State address recounted the difficulties of the past year and the challenges that lie ahead for the state.

“Twelve months ago, we met for what promised to be a bright and promising year…literally overnight our expectations were crushed by COVID-19,” Gov. Ige told a virtual joint session of the state legislature.

As bleak as the coronavirus pandemic has been, the governor focused on Hawai‘i’s success in keeping it from being worse. The state continues to lead the nation with the lowest infection and death rates.  He credits health care workers, emergency responders, essential workers, individuals, families and businesses for doing the right things during the course of the nearly year-long crisis. He highlighted the story of one man, who survived a months-long struggle with the virus and has mostly recovered due to his own perseverance and the expert medical care he received.

“We are here, we are Hawai‘i. We need to continue to show aloha for one another every step of the way,” Governor Ige implored.  He announced plans to reboot and upgrade Hawai‘i’s post pandemic economy and will work with the legislature, business leaders, and former governors to develop the ‘Hawai‘i 2.0’ program. Ige intends to have recommendations by April and then an action plan by the third quarter of this year.

Department of Health:

State Lab Detects COVID-19 Variant

The DOH State Laboratories Division (SLD) has detected the SARS-CoV-2 variant L452R. This strain of COVID-19 was first detected in Denmark in March 2020. It is now found in more than a dozen U.S. states.

Science has not shown the L452R variant spreads more quickly or poses a greater threat than other COVID-19 strains, but there is concern because it has been linked to a growing number of cases in California, including several large outbreaks.

“It is common to find variants to viruses like COVID-19. Some present greater risks than others.” said Dr. Sarah Kemble, acting state epidemiologist. “We are working with our colleagues in other states as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn more about the characteristics of this particular variant.”

“Hawai‘i is not immune to new strains,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “The arrival of L452R reminds us we must wear masks, maintain physical distance from people outside our immediate households, and avoid crowds. These safe practices coupled with COVID-19 vaccines will help us stop the spread.”

Full news release:

Records Review Reveals 60 Unreported COVID-19 Related Deaths

These deaths were linked to COVID-19 after a thorough review of the DOH Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS). The deaths occurred August-December 2020 with 51 deaths reported on O‘ahu, six on Hawai‘i, and three on Maui.

“Our close inspection of death certificates not only revealed 60 previously unreported deaths. It also uncovered flaws that led to delays in the current reporting system,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “We are implementing changes to the process that will improve the timeliness of COVID-19 death reporting.”

Despite these newly identified deaths, Hawaiʻi’s COVID-19 death rate remains among the lowest in the United States.

Read the complete news release:

123 COVID-19 Cases Reported

DOH reports 123 new cases of coronavirus today. This report includes cases up until Saturday at 11:59 p.m. Full data is posted on the State COVID-19 dashboard and on the DOH Disease Outbreak & Control website at noon each day at

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 11:59 p.m. Jan. 23, 2021

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since


(including new cases)

O‘ahu 90 20,524
Hawai‘i 6 2,128
Maui 21 1,626
Kaua‘i 1 178
Moloka‘i 0 25
Lānaʻi 0 106
HI residents diagnosed outside of HI 5 688
Total Cases 123 25,275++
Deaths    0 342

Hospitalizations as of 8:30 a.m. on 1/22/21 – Hawai‘i-2, Maui-16, O‘ahu-78, Kaua’i‘-0

++ As a result of updated information, two cases from O‘ahu were removed from the counts, and one case on O‘ahu was recategorized to Kaua‘i.

Department of Public Safety:

Inmate and Staff Testing Continues

The Halawa Correctional Facility (HCF) reported one (1) negative inmate with a total of 10 active inmate cases. There are three (3) hospitalized HCF inmates. HCF reported there were 12 staff with negative results and one (1) staff positive. For more information on PSD’s planning and response efforts to COVID-19:

Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority:

December 2020 Hawai‘i Vacation Rental Performance Report

HTA released its monthly Vacation Rental Performance Report today, and the supply of vacation rentals in Hawai‘i during December 2020 was down 25.4% compared to the same time last year. The demand was also down 59.9%, resulting in an average monthly unit occupancy of 40.5 percent. In comparison, Hawai‘i’s hotels had an average occupancy rate of 23.8 percent in December 2020. To see the full report:

5,926 Passengers Arrive on Sunday

Yesterday, a total of 5,926 people arrived in Hawai‘i from out of state. A total 2,861 people indicated they came to Hawai‘i for vacation. There were also 947 returning residents. The trans-Pacific passenger arrival data is derived from data provided by the Safe Travels digital system.

To view more:


House & Senate Committees to Hold Briefing on Vaccine Distribution Plan

The House Committee on Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness and the Senate Committee on Health will hold an informational briefing at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26 to update Hawaiʻi’s vaccine distribution plan.

A report will be presented by Department of Health Director Libby Char on:

  1. Vaccine Distribution
  2. Phase 1a and 1b Update
  3. Registration Process for Phase 1a and 1b; Timeline

The briefing will live streamed:

Helpful Resources

Trusted Testing and Travel Partners:

The state of Hawai‘i only accepts Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a certified Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) lab test results from Trusted Testing and Travel Partners. For the full list of domestic trans-Pacific, inter-county, international and airline partners or information on how to become a Trusted Testing Partner, go to:

Safe Travels Hawai‘i Program:
Program overview:


Email: [email protected]

Call Center Number: 1-800-GO-HAWAII

COVID-19 Vaccine Status in Hawai‘i and FAQs:

Vaccine Call Center: 808-586-8332

COVID-19 Expanded Dashboard (Tables, Charts, and Visualizations):

Safe Travels Digital Platform:

Trans-Pacific Passenger Arrivals Statistics: 

Kaua‘i County:
Kaua‘i COVID-19 webpage:
To report violators:

Vaccine Information:

Maui County:
Maui County travel and COVID-19 information:

To report violators: (808) 244-6400 or [email protected]

Hawai‘i County:
Hawai‘i County COVID-19 webpage:

Critical infrastructure and medical travel request: 
To report violators: 808-935-3311

City & County of Honolulu:
Honolulu COVID-19 webpage:

COVID-19 Vaccine Information:

Interisland passengers arriving on O‘ahu are not subject to the mandatory quarantine.
To report violators: 808-723-3900 or [email protected]  

Media Contact:

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Joint Information Center

(808) 636-8194 

[email protected]