No new cases of the CCP virus were reported in Hawaii for the first time since mid-March on Friday. Authorities have called it a positive development but said it doesn’t mean the pandemic has ended in the state and asked people not to become complacent.
“We have seen a steady decline in new cases over the past several weeks, although today we’re at zero, we want to maintain these declines,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said in a statement.
The state health officials said they will use this pause to reassess response capacity, preparedness plans, and prepare for a possible second wave of the pandemic.
The Governor’s office said in a statement that the state is flattening the curve, as its cases of infection are far below the national average and it ranks as one of the best performing states in dealing with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
As of Saturday, the state had 631 cases of infection, with 81 requiring hospitalization and 17 deaths—407 cases of infection and 11 deaths were reported from Honolulu county alone—according to the Hawaii Department of Health. There were 3 new infections reported.
“We have that extraordinary protection right now, but we can’t continue it forever,” State Department of Health director Bruce Anderson said. “When we do open for travel, the disease can be introduced again, and we need to be ready to respond quickly.”
The decline in the number of cases is significant since the state and counties have started to gradually reopen the economy and limited public places while cautioning people to maintain social distancing and keep using masks.
“As businesses reopen, as people become more active and travel more freely, we will inevitably see an increase in cases,” said Park, adding that a main concern for the administration is people traveling from Hawaii to the mainland, particularly to CCP virus hotspots.
Park said to protect the community, it is important for visitors and residents to observe mandatory traveler 14-day self-quarantines. Stay-at-home orders and traveler quarantines have already been extended by Gov. Ige till May 31.
“Travel continues to pose a risk for the spread and reintroduction of the coronavirus. This risk is not just posed by visitors. Residents can actually pose a greater risk by unknowingly infecting others,” said Park.
“When people travel for entirely appropriate and necessary reasons (work, healthcare, or significant family events) they can inadvertently bring the infection home.”
These statements come at a time when the state declared that it’ll reopen in three phases. Alan Oshima, the state economic recovery and resiliency navigator—appointed by Gov. Ige—announced in late April that first, the number of cases of infection must stabilize.
The second phase will involve gradually and sequentially allowing some activities and the third phase will aim at supporting businesses and job growth, reported the Honolulu Civil Beat.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly described the period of time with no new cases of the virus. The Epoch Times regrets the error.