As of Wednesday March 24, 2020, all counties in the State of Hawaii are under stay-at-home order. Governor Ige announced:
“The threat of COVID-19 is unprecedented and requires aggressive action. I have been in discussions with our county mayors who are developing their own plans to meet the unique needs of their counties. We also agree that a statewide order is necessary for cohesion and consistency.”
Hawai‘i’s remote geographic location has its pros and cons, but in these coming weeks it might be a lifesaving benefit rather than a disadvantage.
Today I want to share how the Coronavirus in Hawaii is affecting our life on the Big Island after receiving several inquiries from friends and family.
The development about COVIN-19 has been on our minds for about 6 weeks due to the geographical nearness to China and South Korea.
Coronavirus in Hawaii – Local Government Response
Since February 4th daily messages are sent by the Civil Defense.
As of Sunday March 15, 2020, we have no confirmed cases on our island (the Big Island), although 2 new presumptive cases were reported on Kauai yesterday and 2 today (1 on Oahu and 1 on Maui). Wishing the best for those that are now placed in isolation.
The Hawaiian Islands are in the path of potential big storms during hurricane season, so preparing for a 2-week supply is a normal routine and we have done so accordingly.
All container ships are on route from the west coast so we have no uncertainties about food and other supplies. The Big Island also has flourishing agriculture and many farmers’ markets so there is no limitation for fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Department of Health has canceled all large community gatherings like the:
- Iconic Merrie Monarch festival (April 12-18) that usually takes place in Hilo
- Monthly stroll through Historic Kailua Village on Ali’i Drive where I regularly sell my children’s book Notch, the Rescued Dolphin
Schools are on spring break starting this week but probably will be extended as things are changing every day.
Coronavirus in Hawaii – Tourism Impact
The cruise ship “Pride of America” with Norwegian Cruise Lines usually docks weekly in Kailua-Kona but they announced suspending their tours for the next 60 days and will reevaluate then. The last time they skipped the port of Kailua-Kona and Hilo was during the Kilauea volcano eruption in 2018.
Over the last three days we started to get cancellations for the manta ray experience and our Tropical Treasure Hawaii vacation rentals but we still have guests scheduled to come. Over the next week we expect more cancellation emails because it is of utmost importance that the spread of the virus is slowed down.
It might be tempting to come to Hawaii because of cheap airfares but it’s better to stay away as #FlattenTheCurve of the outbreak is imperative. Everyone needs to do their part to not overwhelm the health care system and I want to encourage everyone to stay informed and to learn why social distancing is significant now.
My former co-worker Jordan Davis is a nurse on the mainland but went through her training on the Big Island. She posted an update as to why we do not want to devastate the local health care system as we only have 6 ICU beds at the Kona hospital, one of just three hospitals on the island. Jordan asks all of us for their “Kuleana” meaning a sense of communal responsibility.
Coronavirus in Hawaii – How the World Responds
The world is slowing down and many realize how connected we all are.
I want to inspire you to stay calm and hopeful. Follow the directions from the CDC and local authorities, wash your hands, and practice social distancing.
Take a breath, unwind and use the free time to look inward, and most importantly keep believing in the goodwill to all. ~ #WeAreInThisTogether.
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