(BIVN) – On Monday, Hawaiʻi officials provided additional details on the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the State, after 78 new cases were reported over the 4th of July holiday weekend.
Earlier today, seven (7) new cases of COVID-19 were reported, with six (6) cases on O‘ahu and one (1) case on Hawai‘i island.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Health said that “while some of the reported cases were identified through contact tracing, many of the newly reported lab results were not associated with known cases – meaning the virus is actively circulating in our communities and spreading.”
Governor David Ige held a news conference on Monday afternoon. The governor was joined by health department director Dr. Bruce Anderson, who reminded island residents to stay vigilant.
“The rise in cases is alarming as we continue to reopen businesses and get closer to welcoming more visitors from states with higher rates of infection and large outbreaks,” said Dr. Anderson. “The single most important thing that we can all do today is wear a mask when we are outside our homes. The risk of infection at this time is particularly high on O‘ahu and we all need to be more vigilant in our daily routines to include wearing a cloth mask, practice physical distancing, and wash our hands often.”
“You’ve heard us talk about ‘clusters’ and these are groups of multiple cases that have a common source,” Anderson said. “All of the recent clusters have been associated with people not wearing masks and not practicing social distancing. They have occurred in workplaces, gyms, and during social gatherings both inside and outdoors.”
For example, the health department said it is “monitoring a cluster of COVID-19 cases associated with a gym in Honolulu,” and “found the gym did not have the space to properly physical distance, had poor ventilation, and lacked masks for those not exercising.” The gym is now closed, and community outreach and testing activities are ongoing, the State said.
Anderson says the health department has more than 100 contact tracers available for surge capacity, “but needs the community’s support and cooperation to prevent the spread of disease.”
Lt. Governor Josh Green also participated in the news conference, and assured the public that the State has the capacity to handle the recent uptick in cases.
In a later media release, Green said that if Hawaiʻi approaches crisis levels, there are alert systems in place that will indicate when the State needs to make changes.
“While I know everyone is focused on the increase in daily case numbers, I want to reassure everyone that we’re in good shape from a healthcare perspective,” Lt. Governor Green said. “However, this is about teamwork. We absolutely need the participation of our community members to keep us in a good spot. Please wear your masks, physically distance, wash your hands, and stay home when you’re sick. Thank you for your efforts and let’s continue to keep Hawai‘i safe.”
The Lieutenant Governor also shared the following hospital numbers and statistics:
- 115 COVID-19 related hospitalizations (32 in June and early July)
- With 19 fatalities, Hawai‘i continues to have lowest mortality rate per 100k in the U.S.
- Hawai‘i’s recovery rate at 77%
- 85,673 people tested; 100,888 tests conducted to-date
At the Monday briefing, Governor David Ige told residents that their commitment “has made Hawai‘i the national leader in controlling COVID-19,” however the governor is urging people “to continue safe practices to remain the lowest in the nation for per capita transmission and the fewest fatalities.”
Governor Ige also spoke about the fiscal health of the State of Hawaiʻi, which we will cover in a following report.