Encouraging Coronavirus Case Numbers Partly a Result of Testing Lag
The Hawai‘i Department of Health is reporting 87 new positive COVID-19 cases diagnosed on O‘ahu today for a cumulative total of 2,197 cases in the state, reported since March.
New cases on O‘ahu are widespread and located in many areas including and not limited to: Hale‘iwa, Hau‘ula, Kāneʻohe, Lāʻie, Mililani, Wahiawa, Waimānalo, ‘Aiea, Ewa Beach, Honolulu proper, Kailua, Kapolei, Pearl City, Wai‘anae and Waipahu.
State officials say that while this number is encouraging and lower than previous days, it also reflects a significant lag in the testing results. With many test specimens now being sent to mainland labs for processing, reporting of test results is delayed 5-7 days. This delay may make case numbers appear lower than actual disease activity.
“Many of the cases reported recently are associated with social gatherings,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson.
This month, multiple cases have been associated with a yoga class, fire station, funeral events, gyms, socializing at bars, and training events. Infections have been traced to workplaces including but not limited to a construction company and site, non-patient care areas of hospitals, social service organizations, nursing and care homes, retail establishments, warehouse and delivery businesses.
Multiple household and other cases are primarily associated with social interactions such as house parties, beach parties/gatherings, birthday parties, Father’s Day and Fourth of July gatherings, religious functions, gathering to view sporting events, and co-workers socializing while off-duty.
“Everyone should avoid close contact with others outside of their household members, crowded places, and large gatherings. Act as if everyone around you has the virus and can spread it,” said Anderson.
The DOH strongly encourages wearing of face masks, physical distancing and most importantly, staying at home and separated from others to prevent exposing them when sick.
To protect the privacy of individuals, DOH does not release detailed information on its investigations unless there is an imminent risk to the public.
The case count today was 87 news cases, all on Oʻahu. This comes after Friday’s 123 cases, which marked the third consecutive day that new cases have risen into the triple-digits. The state set a record for its single-day numbers on Thursday with 124 new cases. There ere also 109 new cases on Wednesday across the state.
Island highlights for Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, are as follows:
- Oʻahu: 1842 total, 982 recovered, 19 deaths
- Maui: 170 total, 129 recovered, six deaths
- Hawaiʻi County: 115 total, 115 recovered
- Kauaʻi County: 47 total, 43 recovered
- Hawaiʻi Residents Diagnosed Out-of-State: 23 total, one death of a Kauaʻi resident who was hospitalized in Arizona.
- Pending: 0
• 7.31.20: Third Consecutive Day of Triple-Digit Increases in Hawai‘i: 123 New COVID-19 Cases
• 7.30.20: New One-Day Record, Triple-Digit Record for Hawai‘i: 124 New COVID-19 Cases
• 7.29.20: New Record: 109 New COVID-19 Cases in Hawai‘i (98 on O‘ahu, 9 on Maui, 2 on Kaua‘i)
• 7.28.20: 47 New COVID-19 Cases in Hawai‘i: 46 on O‘ahu, 1 on Maui
• 7.27.20: 28 New COVID-19 Cases on O‘ahu; Investigators Search for Bar Patrons for Contact Tracing
• 7.26.20: 64 New Covid-19 Cases in Hawai‘i on Sunday: 55 on O‘ahu, 7 on Maui, 2 on Kaua‘i
• 7.25.20: 3rd Consecutive Day of Record High Numbers on July 25 with 73 New COVID-19 Cases
• 7.24.20: 2nd Day of Record High Numbers on July 24 with 60 New COVID-19 Cases in Hawaiʻi
• 7.23.20: Record High Numbers on Thursday, July 23 with 55 New COVID-19 Cases in Hawaiʻi
In Maui County, cases with onset in the last 28 days have been in all areas of Maui Island except for the rural areas of East Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi. Of the 171 cases documented in Maui County over the course of the pandemic, Wailuku, Kahului and Lahaina had the most cases (more than 20 cases each); followed by Kīhei (11-20 cases); Makawao, Spreckelsville, Kula and Haʻikū (6-10 cases); and Hāna and Molokaʻi (1-5 cases each).
Age breakdown is not available by county; however there is a breakdown of the statewide count. Of the 1688 (excludes 22 residents diagnosed out of state) cases recorded *as of July 27 statewide (updated weekly): 171 were 0-19 years old (one of which required hospitalization); 617 were 20-39 years old (13 of which required hospitalization); 551 were 40-59 years old (41 of which required hospitalization; and four deaths); and 349 were 60+ years old (88 of which required hospitalization; and 21 deaths).
Hawai‘i’s Triple Digit Case Count Has Officials Considering Reinstatement of Measures
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino is enacting several new rules amid record triple-digit single day increases in new COVID-19 cases. While state officials said Wednesday’s increase was anticipated, the governor said he would be working with the mayors to reinstate some of the measures that were relaxed in recent weeks.
Governor David Ige on Wednesday said he would be looking at social gatherings of no more than 10 individuals, revisit the closure of bars, and limit social gatherings at beaches and parks.
Mayor Victorino’s recommendations on Maui include updated Public Health Emergency Rules that limit indoor and outdoor social gatherings to no more than 10 people. The use of large structures that may attract gatherings, such as tents and pavilions, are also prohibited at beaches and parks. The rules went into effect on July 31, 2020.
Maui County has six COVID-19 related deaths
- Maui reported its first COVID-19 related death on Monday, April 6, of an adult male over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions and exposure to travelers.
- The second Maui death was announced on Wednesday, April 8, and was an unattended death.
- A third death in Maui County reportedly occurred on April 7, but was reported in the state count on Friday, April 10. The third case involved an elderly individual who was in the chronic care unit.
- The fourth case was confirmed on April 19, and was an adult male from Washington state in the 40-59-year age group who had no previous medical conditions. State health officials say the man’s exposure history may be travel-related. The man had been hospitalized for an extended period in serious condition at Maui Memorial Medical Center.
- The fifth Maui case occurred on Monday April 20 and involved a man who had underlying health conditions. He had been in the hospital at Maui Memorial Medical Center since late last year. This person’s death is considered related to the MMMC cluster.
- The sixth Maui case was reported on May 3, 2020. The case involved a woman, over the age of 60, with underlying medical conditions. She had been in the hospital at Maui Memorial Medical Center since late February. Her infection occurred in mid-April. “COVID-19 is not believed to be the primary cause of death, due to her other serious illnesses, but may have been a contributing factor to her passing,” health officials said.
On Monday, July 13, Gov. David Ige announced he is delaying the launch of the state’s pre-travel testing program by a month to Sept. 1, 2020. He also announced the extension of Hawai‘i’s 14-day quarantine on trans-Pacific travel to the end of August. The governor said he still believes in the program and reports that the state has made progress, but said spikes on the mainland and here at home have stalled the program that many equate to the reopening of tourism in Hawaiʻi.
He agreed that the developments will make economic recovery more challenging for Hawaiʻi.
A separate quarantine in place for interisland travel was lifted on Tuesday, June 16.; however, on Friday July 24, amid record increases in cases statewide, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino asked Governor David Ige to reinstate the 14-Day interisland quarantine. As of the time of this posting, no decision had been made on the request. Upon lifting the interisland quarantine, the state implemented thermal screening, a new interisland travel form and a more robust contact tracing program.
This applies only to air travel within the state, and anyone arriving into the state is still subject to a 14-day quarantine as outlined above.
The state has since selected NEC Corporation, NEC Corporation of America and their partner, Infrared Cameras Inc., to provide thermal temperature screening and facial imaging technology at Hawaiʻi’s public airports.
The thermal temperature screening equipment was installed immediately at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Kahului Airport, Līhuʻe Airport, Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole and Hilo International Airport.
- Phase 1 will have the temperature scanners installed this month at the gates currently being used for arriving trans-Pacific flights.
- Phase 2 will have the temperature scanners installed at the remaining gates in the coming weeks.
- Phase 3 expects to have the facial imaging equipment installed by Dec. 31, 2020.
Hawaiʻi School Board Votes to Approve Delayed Start of School by Two Weeks
The Hawaiʻi Board of Education on Thursday night (July 30, 2020) voted to postpone the start of the school year by two weeks to Aug. 17th. The delay provides assurances that health and safety preparedness concerns relating to COVID-19 are addressed and that there’s enough time for employee training in protocols and virtual learning tools. The board postponed action on a separate motion that sought to waive the statutory law that requires 180 days of instruction, and will revisit the matter at a later date.
The discussion comes amid record breaking daily COVID-19 case counts in Hawaiʻi. The state recorded another triple-digit record breaking day for new COVID-19 infections with a total of 124 new cases in the state on Thursday.