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Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center Daily News Digest, August 19, 2020

Posted on Aug 19, 2020 in Latest Department News

Governor’s Office: 

Contact Tracing Focus of Daily News Briefing
From a ballroom at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, converted into a contact tracing center
Gov. Ige, HI-EMA Director Ken Hara, Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson and Dr. Emily Roberson, the recently appointed DOH Disease Investigation Branch Chief, addressed the accelerated efforts to track down close contacts of people who’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19. Governor Ige said the deaths of two older people on O‘ahu, reported today, is another tragic reminder of the consequences of coronavirus. He extended condolences to the family and friends of the victims. 

The governor said when Hawai‘i began seeing the triple-digit surge of cases over the past two weeks he directed DOH to ramp up contact tracing efforts and the department did so. This complements existing tracer training in conjunction with the UH John H. Burns School of Medicine and now includes 50 Hawai‘i National Guard members who are working at HCC.  Another ballroom with work stations, phones and computers is set up to accommodate an additional 50 personnel. A significant hurdle for expanding the contact tracing team previously was the lack of physical space at DOH.

After touring the operation prior to an afternoon news briefing, Governor Ige said, “I’m confident DOH has what it needs and will continue to accelerate contact tracing and support. Expanding contact tracing is critical and just one of the measures needed to control the virus.”

More Photos:

The governor said today he signed the City and County of Honolulu’s Act Now Honolulu order, announced yesterday, that is intended to stop the spread of coronavirus on O‘ahu. “We want to do everything possible. We all know what needs to be done. We can only be successful when we each take personal responsibility…stay home, wash hands, wear masks. We’re focused on unstructured social gatherings and the surge we’re seeing is because people let their guard down,” Governor Ige said.

Department of Health:
261 New Cases Though Spike Partially Attributed to Delays in Test Reporting  
234 of the newly reported COVID-19 cases today are on O‘ahu, with seven (7) on Hawai‘i island and twenty (20) from Maui for a total of 261 new cases. Of the new cases today, 56 are attributed to the cluster of cases at OCCC, and 37 positive results from yesterday are included today due to laboratory reporting delays.  DOH is reporting two additional deaths of an O‘ahu man and woman, both over 60-years-old. Other details are pending. The coronavirus death toll is now 43. DOH believes that while numbers appear to be plateauing, it is too early to see trends related to new restrictions announced recently. The department also notes that today’s higher case count is partially due to transmission issues with a mainland laboratory’s Electronic Lab Reporting (ELR), over the past two days. Those issues have now been resolved.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, August 19, 2020

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since


(including new cases)

O‘ahu 234 5,111
Hawai‘i 7 159
Maui 20 260
Kauai 0 54
Moloka‘i 0 2
Lana‘i 0 0
HI residents diagnosed outside of HI 0 23
Total Cases 261 5,609++
Deaths    2 43 

++ As a result of updated information, one case from Maui was recategorized to O‘ahu, and one case from O‘ahu was removed from the counts. Hospitalization count as of 8/18/20 at 5:30 pm: 6-Hawai‘i, 16-Maui, 163-O‘ahu, 2-Kaua‘i    

Laboratory* Testing Data
There were 2,559 additional COVID-19 tests reported via electronic laboratory reporting.

Total Number of Individuals Tested

by Clinical and State Laboratories

Positive Negative
168,672** 5,609 163,038

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting **25  test results were inconclusive 

For more tables, charts and visualizations visit the DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division: 

Health Director Expands on Contact Tracing and Plateau of Cases
Dr. Anderson said 56 of today’s reported cases are associated with the cluster at the O‘ahu Community Correctional Facility and 37 that were not reported yesterday due to the lab reporting backlog. Anderson said, “Subtract those out…still significant but fewer than we projected a week ago. Our statewide hospital census is stable and we are not experiencing any crisis situations in any of our hospitals.”  He said he remains confident that with new restrictions on gathering and enhanced enforcement we’ll see case numbers drop in the next several weeks.

Acceleration and Efficiency in Contact Tracing
Dr. Roberson spoke at the afternoon news briefing to address the restructuring of the State’s contact tracing efforts for peak performance. Among the enhancements:

  1. Restructured case investigations with HING for peak performance. Clerical tasks are delegated to support staff.
  2. Data collection with improved forms. We focus only on data that is actionable.
  3. Prioritizing cases where there are rapid outbreak and focusing on four groups to identify and screen close contacts.
  • High risk occupations
  • High risk settings
  • High risk individuals
  • People who are sick with symptoms

Dr. Roberson concluded, “The overarching goal when prioritizing groups is to focus our efforts. We’re continuing to improve our process for better efficiency.”

“Not Taking Chances” Campaign Launches 
DOH recently launched a new campaign called “Not Taking Chances.” It’s the first phase of a new statewide educational campaign to address the high number of COVID-19 cases Hawai‘i has seen. The campaign, which was developed with Anthology Marketing Group, aims to change social norms by modeling attitudes and behaviors that underscore the importance of wearing a face mask and avoiding large groups and gatherings. DOH Director Dr. Bruce Anderson said, “Research has shown that the majority of Hawai‘i residents know what to do, but aren’t adhering to the guidance,” he said. “Social norm campaigns have proven to be effective in changing health behaviors relating to drunk driving, substance use, smoking, and wearing seat belts and we believe this will be another important way to lower the number of cases in Hawai‘i.”

The “Not Taking Chances” campaign was developed based on survey data collected in mid-April and June 2020 among adults in Hawai‘i. It showed that the most convincing messages to motivate residents to adhere to infection control recommendations were “protecting our kupuna,” “protecting those who are most vulnerable in our communities,” “the call for Hawai‘i to come together,” and the need “to get back to work.” As part the campaign’s first phase, the ads will be seen on broadcast and cable television, radio, print, digital, social, and streaming platforms through the end of September. The second phase of the campaign is planned for October through the end of the year. To view the videos:

Sixteen (16) additional Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) inmates and 2 staff have tested positive for COVID-19. PSD coordinated with the DOH to conduct mass testing of all OCCC inmates in each of the 19 individual housing units there. 132 more inmate test results were received today. Sixteen (16) were positive and 116 negative. All remaining inmates will be tested in the coming days. 19 OCCC staff test results have also been reported. Two (2) were positive and 17 were negative. 

Total PSD positive COVID-19 test results as of 8/19/20

Corrections Division Staff Inmate
HCCC 0 0
KCCC 0 0
MCCC 0 0
OCCC 36 231
HCF 1 1
KCF 0 0
WCCC 1 0
WCF 2 0
Sheriff Division 1 NA
Total 41 232

* Numbers are subject to change as pending results are received.

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority: 
2,080 Passengers Arrive on Tuesday 
Yesterday, a total of 2,080 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 516 visitors and 716 returning residents. There was a total of 27 arriving flights. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday but does not show interisland travel.


Crew 15 24 105 144
Transit 1 120 121
Military 11 103 114
Exempt 205 205
Relocate to Hawai‘i 7 20 237 264
Returning Resident 96 71 549 716
Visitor 49 41 426 516
GRAND TOTAL  168  167  1,745  2,080 
Flights 3 3 21 0 27

Department of Defense: 
National Guard Continues Assisting with COVID mapping  
The Hawai‘i National Guard is continuing to assist DOH with COVID mapping. Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara was at the governor’s news briefing Thursday, and while there are already over two dozen Guardsmen assisting with the efforts, Gen. Hara said they’re working in collaboration with DOH to expand even further. He attributed their success in assisting to early planning, saying, “Early on back in March, I told all emergency managers and Hawai‘i guard leaders that we need to be responsive and anticipate needs. Our leadership team trained our Airmen and Soldiers ahead of time, so when the request came, we were able to support them within 24 hours.” Gen. Hara also added, “One of our skillsets and best advantages is that we are citizens and Soldiers. There are a lot of skills and other experiences and skills that the Soldiers and Airmen bring, so I’d really like to thank everybody that is supporting this operation from the Hawai‘i National Guard.”

Dan Dennison
Lead Public Information Officer
Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center
[email protected]

Senior Communications Manager
Hawaii Dept. of Land & Natural Resources
Communications Office
[email protected]
(808) 587-0396