HONOLULU (KHON2) – The Rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in Hawaii is starting to affect staffing levels in everything from lifeguards to baristas who brew your daily coffee.
The number of essential workers absent for COVID-related reasons continues to increase. In Oahu, emergency services and Ocean Safety have about 50 employees absent due to quarantine or isolation.
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Ocean security chief John Titchen said two lifeguard towers were closed on Wednesday, December 29, but mobile lifeguard units will continue to respond to those areas.
âIt would be misleading to say that we have no shortage of workers – we are – we are currently down about 21,â Titchen explained. âWe have people coming back, we expect people to come out. I just want to remind the public that we’ve been on duty, that we’ve been closing a tower or two a day for the past few weeks. “
Meanwhile, the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) said 85 officers are in isolation and 27 officers are in quarantine. The ministry said it was making adjustments and there was no impact on police service calls at this time.
More than 50 employees of the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) are also absent due to quarantine.
Additionally, the need to quarantine staff has an impact on small businesses. Curb Cafe co-owner Ross Uehara-Tilton said it closed for two days after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus. All other staff tested negative, but Uehara-Tilton said there was uncertainty with the omicron variant.
At HPD, support officers help with the patrol. The city’s emergency services and maritime safety authorize overtime.
âThe rest of the team is working overtime. Our part-time employees are stepping up, I have allowed the chefs to work on the ambulance to keep us going, âsaid Dr James Ireland, director of the Honolulu emergency services department.
The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) recently revised its quarantine recommendations based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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The DOH said those who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of their vaccine status, should self-isolate for at least five days and until symptoms subside. People should continue to wear a mask for five days after isolation.