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Hawaii governor tells potential tourists not to visit as hospitals are “filling up” with COVID patients

Hawaii Governor David Ige inspired potential tourists not to visit the islands amid a surge of coronavirus instances, saying it’s “a risky time to be traveling right now.”

“I encourage everyone to restrict and curtail travel to Hawaii,” Ige mentioned throughout a press convention on Monday. “It’s not a good time to travel to the islands.” 

Ige mentioned that journey ought to be restricted to “essential business activities only.” Visitors, he mentioned, will not have the “typical” trip that they’d anticipate, as restaurant capability has been restricted and rental automobiles are restricted.

Ige’s warning comes as Hawaii continues to see an increase in COVID instances and hospitals have reached capability. There have been greater than 9,300 new instances prior to now two weeks, in accordance to the state’s health department. The majority of recent instances have been in Oahu, one of the crucial widespread Hawaiian locations for vacationers.

“We are seeing more COVID patients in our hospitals and the ICUs are filling up,” Ige mentioned on Monday. “We know that we need to take action now in order to reduce the spread of COVID and ensure that our hospitals are not overrun.” 

Dr. Elizabeth Char, director of the state’s well being division, mentioned in a statement that the COVID surge is generally stemming from neighborhood unfold and folks flying to hotspot areas and “bringing COVID back.” 

“If things do not change, our health care systems will be crippled,” Char mentioned, “and those needing medical care for all types of diseases, injuries and conditions, including our visitors, may find it difficult to get the treatment they need right away.”

Char mentioned that COVID instances have gone up “for the past 10 Mondays.” 

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Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO John De Fries mentioned that the variety of guests is beginning to decline, which is typical as autumn approaches. 

“Our community, residents and the visitor industry, are responsible for working together to address this crisis,” De Fries mentioned in a statement. “As such, we are strongly advising visitors that now is not the right time to travel, and they should postpone their trips through the end of October.”

Ige additionally reiterated the significance of correct hygiene, carrying masks, social distancing and getting vaccinated to stop the unfold of COVID-19, as nicely as the significance of testing to give you the option to observe the unfold. 

“We know that the vaccines are effective at preventing death and severe illness, including hospitalizations,” Ige mentioned, emphasizing that the Pfizer vaccine acquired full FDA approval simply hours earlier than his press convention. 

Sixty-two p.c of Hawaii residents have been absolutely vaccinated, in accordance to the state.