(BIVN) – For the third day in a row, the State of Hawaiʻi has surpassed its own record for the highest single-day total of COVID-19 cases, reporting 73 new cases on Saturday.
The majority of the new cases are on O‘ahu (68), and five (5) are on Maui. There were no new cases reported today on Hawaiʻi island.
625 people across the State of Hawaiʻi, who are either COVID-19 positive or who have been exposed to the virus, are currently in isolation or quarantine and will shelter-in-place as Hurricane Douglas approaches.
With record new cases today, the State says it’s expected the number of people in isolation or quarantine will rise by the end of the day. The Hawaii Department of Health says it contacted these individuals yesterday and at that time, they indicated they do not intend to seek accommodations at a public shelter.
State Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson said, “Thursday’s, Friday’s, and today’s numbers demonstrate the relaxation of safe practices from the 4th of July, particularly on O‘ahu, may have been one primary reason for these daily new records. We’re beginning to see more cases among younger to middle-age adults; many who relay stories of attending gatherings, parties, events, or socializing at bars.”
State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park added, “Multiple household clusters and other clusters are associated with social interactions like 4th of July gatherings, birthday parties, televised sports events, religious functions, work meetings, and funeral events. Our investigations and contact tracing show in many of these settings people have relaxed their physical distancing and use of facial coverings.”
The health department also shared this information on testing:
While the percent of positive coronavirus in the state seems to be stable, the curve is very gradually increasing because of the positivity rate in Honolulu. Dr. Park explained, “This means the rate of new cases, particularly on O‘ahu, is greater than the rate of increased testing that is occurring.”
However, due to the approaching storm, the DOH State Laboratories Division will not be conducting COVID-19 testing on Sunday. Testing is expected to resume late Monday or on Tuesday. The DOH State Laboratories Division has been testing specimens for one of the clinical labs because of a reagent supply shortage. The State Laboratories Division also regularly tests specimens from investigations and sentinel surveillance.
“There are already calls for re-instituting restrictions and given this concerning trend,” said Dr. Anderson. “We are closely monitoring the situation, evaluating exposure risks, and currently in discussions on going back to previous restrictions on activities.”