3:52 PM PDT, August 25, 2021
Hawaii Governor David Ige urged tourists to hold off their travel plans to the islands amid a rise in COVID patients at hospitals and ICUs, according to a published report.
“Now is not a good time to travel to Hawai’i,” Ige announced during a press briefing on Monday. “We are seeing more COVID patients in our hospitals and the ICUs are filling up. 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.”
According to the state’s health department, there have been more than 9,633 new cases in the past two weeks. The island of Oahu, which is one of the most popular area travelers visit, is where the majority of new cases have been found, CBS News reported.
Dr. Elizabeth Char, director of the Department of Health, stressed the urgency of the situation and said, “if things don’t change, our health care systems will be crippled.”
“The surge of COVID cases is mainly due to community spread with residents traveling to hotspot areas abroad and bringing COVID back to their households and community,” Char said, according to a Hawaii Tourism Authority news release.
John De Fries, CEO and president of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, is “strongly advising” visitors to postpone their trips through the end of October.
According to the state, 62% of Hawaii citizens have been fully vaccinated, CBS reported.
Ige said that he was “asking everyone to do their part,” and to continue to wear masks, social distance, and wash their hands, to minimize the spread. He also mentioned that the Pfizer vaccine was granted full FDA approval just hours before his press conference.
”We know that the vaccines are effective at preventing death and severe illness, including hospitalizations,” Ige said.