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Vaccine Distribution Continues, County Amends Rules

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

Molokai logged no new COVID-19 cases last week, as vaccine rollout continues, now including residents 75 years and older, along with healthcare and frontline essential workers.

Molokai General Hospital officials said they are “in the process of finalizing plans for immunization based on the Department of Health tier system.”

“At this time we will be focusing on anyone in Phase 1a and 1b,” read a statement from the hospital last week. “These phases are for health care personnel, adults 75 years or older, and frontline essential workers. We plan to quickly move to Phase 1c, Adults 65-74, persons aged 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, and essential workers not recommended for vaccination in Phase 1b.”

The hospital told residents to watch for more information this week regarding registration and clinic hours.
Phase 1B includes essential workers are those whose duties must be performed onsite and require being in close proximity to the public or coworkers, are at substantially higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 and are essential to the functioning of society with special attention to life and safety first, according to the Dept. of Health. Examples include first responders, corrections officers, 911 dispatchers, essential government workers, critical transportation workers, utility workers, teachers and childcare staff, U.S. postal employees and grocery store workers.

Molokai’s Dept. of Health office is also offering signups for the vaccine, though did not immediately return calls for comment on details.

The County of Maui amended its Public Health Emergency Rules to reduce retail occupancy and change travel regulations to avoid quarantine.

Total occupancy for a retail establishment is now limited to 30 percent of the facility’s maximum occupant load. For retail spaces not subject to maximum occupancy limits (under 50 maximum occupants), the new rules state that maximum occupancy should be determined by taking the total square footage of retail space, dividing it by 36 square feet, to take into account a 6-foot buffer per person, and multiplying that by 30 percent. Bars and restaurants must now close no later than 10 p.m. for dining-in service.

For travel, all interisland and transpacific travelers who want to avoid the 10-day quarantine by pre-testing negative for COVID-19 within the State’s Safe Travels Program must also download either the AlohaSafe Alert application or another Google-Apple Exposure Notification System application, or enable their exposure notification setting on their mobile device, according to Maui County. Proof of registration is required by showing airport screeners or any law enforcement officer the application installed or setting enabled. Failure to register with one of these apps prior to arrival into Maui County will result in a mandatory quarantine period. The only exception is for those under age 18 who don’t have a mobile device, or for a person without a mobile device, at least one person in their traveling party is required to comply.

Interisland travelers whose negative COVID-19 test results are not available at the time of arrival must quarantine for 10 days or the duration of their stay in Maui County, whichever is shorter. Those required to quarantine who need a hotel or other paid lodging at their destination must quarantine at an approved hotel or motel. Short-term vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts or transient vacation rentals are not allowed as quarantine lodging.

Critical infrastructure workers seeking a quarantine exemption for travel into Maui County from within the State of Hawaii must request the exemption through mauicounty.gov, and requesters must provide all required documentation prior to travel. All those with a limited quarantine exemption (home-to-work) must also download and present to screeners either the AlohaSafe Alert application or other Google-Apple exposure notification system application or setting enabled prior to entry into Maui County.

Additionally, Maui County provided clarification that the face mask or face coverings must be worn while walking to and from the pool or beach area “and may only be removed once the person is stationary and adequately separated from non-household members.”

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