Hawaii Daily COVID-19 Update: 9/16

Hawaii Daily COVID-19 update of coronavirus reports and statistics from government departments as of Wednesday, September 16, 2020 in the Aloha State.

Governor’s Office: 

Pre-Travel Testing Option to Begin on Oct. 15, 2020 

At an afternoon news briefing, Gov. David Ige announced plans for a Hawai‘i pre-travel testing program that gives travelers the option of possibly avoiding 14-day-long quarantine upon arrival to the state. This is viewed as one of the key measures for revitalizing Hawai‘i’s visitor-centric economy, while providing protection for the spread of COVID-19. Key components of the pre-travel testing program include: 

  • All travelers must either pre-test or go into 14-day quarantine upon arrival to the state 
  • All travelers are required to have temperature checked and complete a health & travel questionnaire 
  • As an alternative to quarantine a traveler must produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test no earlier than 72-hours prior to their flight arrival in Hawai‘i 
  • The interisland quarantine for anyone arriving on any island other than O‘ahu continues through Oct. 15 unless terminated or extended by a separate emergency proclamation 
  • FDA-approved NAAT tests, processed by a CLIA-certified laboratory are the only types of coronavirus tests currently approved 
  • Currently approved trusted testing partners are CVS and Kaiser Permanente 

The State has produced an extensive list of questions and answers associated with the Safe Travels Pre-Testing Program. See the FAQs at: hawaiicovid19.com 

New Leadership Team, Realignment of COVID-19 Efforts Announced   

Governor Ige announced a new leadership team to oversee the State’s public health response to COVID-19. Maj. Gen. Ken Hara, Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency Director, will continue his role as incident commander, spearheading the collaboration between federal, state and county resources to address the pandemic response. Dr. Libby Char, DOH Director, is responsible for the management of the state’s public health programs and collaboration between state, county, and private healthcare partners. Lt. Gov. Josh Green will spearhead the pre-travel testing program, which includes adding partners to administer the tests and sourcing new testing options and is also responsible for planning the state’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy. Gov Ige. said, “This new leadership team gives us a stronger operational structure, stronger leadership, and clears the way for stronger partnerships between the public and private sectors.”   

Meanwhile, Dr. Virginia Pressler, the former director of DOH, has also volunteered to lead the Laulima Alliance, a cross functional team of public and private sector resources, ensuring that all have a voice in policy making and implementation of programs responding to the pandemic. Gov. Ige said, “Together with the progress we’ve made, and continue to make, in the fight against COVID-19, this new leadership team gives us confidence that the time is right to launch our pre-travel COVID-19 testing program, which is an important step toward reviving our economy while continuing to protect public health.”   

Department of Health: 

102 Cases Reported Today & Three Additional Deaths on O‘ahu 

Two (2) men and one (1) woman, all from O‘ahu, all with underlying health conditions, and all in the 70 to 79-year-old age group are the latest to pass away from coronavirus. All three had been in the hospital. After two days of double-digit case counts, DOH reports a slight increase into the low triple digits with 102 new cases today. 

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, Sept.16, 2020     

Island of Diagnosis     New Cases     Reported since      2/28/2020      (including new cases)   
O‘ahu     97 9,879 
Hawai‘i     603 
Maui    363 
Kaua‘i    58 
Moloka‘i     15 
HI residents diagnosed outside of HI    28 
Total Cases     102 10,946 
Deaths     103 

Hospitalization count as of 9/15/20 at 5:30 pm: 22-Hawai‘i, 5-Maui, 183-O‘ahu, 0-Kaua‘i   

Laboratory* Testing Data     

There were 2,492 additional COVID-19 tests reported via electronic laboratory reporting. 

Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories     Positive Negative 
265,500** 10,946 254,531 
Total Number of Surge Tests++   
46,923 295 46,628 

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting **23 test results were inconclusive     

++ Tests results from unique individuals. Total numbers may be higher due to repeat tests on single individuals. 


For more tables, charts and visualizations visit the DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division:https://health.hawaii.gov/coronavirusdisease2019/what-you-should-know/current-situation-in-hawaii 

Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency:  

Update on COVID-19 Response Assets   

At the governor’s news briefing Thursday, HI-EMA Director Kenneth Hara gave an update on COVID-19 response assets that have been assisting in Hawai‘i. At the request of the State, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) deployed a team of public health officers to help augment clinical staff at the Queen’s Medical Center and Kuakini Medical Center. The short-term surge support is designed to relieve the pressure on medical staff who work in the hospital’s emergency department and ICU. About 36 health care providers are deployed. A separate VA team of experts in outbreak control will arrive at Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home in Hilo later this week.   

Post-Surge Testing Strategy   

Efforts are also underway with the various counties and HHS to expand surge testing on neighbor islands. The surge testing on O‘ahu showed a COVID-19 positive rate of less than 1%, which indicates that COVID-19 is not widespread or “out of control.” Director Hara said, “With positive cases identified through laboratory reporting and contact tracing also decreasing, things are moving in the right direction.”     

Airport Screening  

Tools are also being used at Hawai‘i airports to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including using 133 cameras statewide to detect individuals with a fever higher than 100.4 degrees and above. Previously, National Guard members would stop each passenger as they exited the plane and take their temperature. Now, people exit the plane without being stopped and their temperature is taken automatically as they walk past the equipment. Facial imaging technology is also expected to be completed and rolled out by Dec. 31, 2020.  

Department of Public Safety:  

Two Additional COVID-19 Positive Cases Reported at OCCC   

PSD is reporting two new COVID-19 positive cases; one is an OCCC inmate, the other is an OCCC staff member. Recovered PSD staff increased to 65, with only 38 active cases. Mass testing is underway for COVID-19 at all correctional facilities statewide. Testing started at the Waiawa Correctional Facility Tuesday. PSD anticipates test results will take up to three days to receive. The order of the facilities next in line for testing is still being worked out. Staff testing is being coordinated with the Hawai‘i National Guard and will be conducted separately from the inmate testing being performed by the PSD Health Care Division nursing staff.  

The inmate releases directed through the Hawai‘i Supreme Court orders are on-going. There are no releases to report for Tuesday. For more information on PSD’s planning and response to COVID-19, testing data, and information detailing the efforts made to safeguard the inmates, staff and public, can be found here:   


Previous Hawaii Daily COVID-19 information


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