(BIVN) – There were 169 newly reported cases of COVID-19 in the State of Hawaiʻi as of noon on Thursday. Of that number, health officials say eight (8) were identified on Hawaiʻi island.
UPDATE – (4:30 p.m.) – The Hawaiʻi Department of Health reported on the three deaths that were announced today:
Two (2) men and one woman, all from O‘ahu are the latest people to pass away from coronavirus. All three had underlying medical conditions and had been hospitalized. One man was in the 70 to 79-year-old age group and the other was in the 50 to 59-year-old age group. The woman was also in that age group. Their deaths increase Hawai‘i’s death toll to 94.
The number of active cases decreased from the 293 indicated by the State on Wednesday to 286 today. 252 of the total 541 cases have been released from isolation, and the State is still counting only three (3) deaths related to COVID-19 on Hawaiʻi island.
Hilo Medical Center on Wednesday reported 11 deaths related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Ten (10) of those deaths were in connection to the outbreak at the Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home in Hilo, where a total of 63 residents and 22 employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
The State partially acknowledged the State / Hilo Medical Center death count discrepancy in a message issued on Wednesday, saying that the health department “is aware of six (6) additional deaths associated with COVID-19 at the Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home in Hilo. To confirm these deaths, the department is waiting on medical records from the facility. Confirmation of all COVID-19 deaths is based on medical documentation.”
Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense issued an updated radio message today at noon. The County is no longer reporting the number of active cases. The County talked about upcoming testing events, and free face masks that will be provided by police. From civil defense:
As of noon today, there are eight (8) new cases of Coronavirus on Hawaii Island. This data demonstrates a good downward trend of new positive cases. Thank you, Hawaii, for your help in following the preventive measures and participation in testing.
In efforts to control the spread of the Coronavirus on Hawaii Island, the following policies remain in effect:
Increased testing will continue throughout the Island. Remember the purpose of testing is to identify positive cases as early as possible and in this way help stop the spread of the virus. The cooperation and participation by residents throughout the island has been tremendous. Thank you. Testing scheduled for this Friday, September 11th, are Pahoa and Milolii and on Saturday, September 12th, in Hilo at the Afook-Chinen Auditorium. Hours will be from 9:00 in the morning ‘til 1:00 in the afternoon.
The Hawaii County Police Department will continue their enforcement of the preventative polices of face coverings, distancing, and gatherings. Know that these policies are mandated and will be enforced. While on patrol, Police Officers will provide face coverings to people they encounter who do not have one. Thank you, to the Police for your work and to Marc Benioff of Salesforce for donating the masks.
With all accepting kuleana, we can stop the spread of the virus to keep your family, friends, and neighbors safe
UPDATE – (4:30 p.m.) – The Hawaiʻi Department of Health provided this information on the recent decline in COVID-19 cases, saying that it sees the trend as a positive indication that measures are working. The DOH wrote:
After nearly six weeks of elevated numbers of positive COVID-19 cases, Hawai‘i is beginning to turn the corner and regain control of the spread of the disease on all islands.
On July 29, the Hawai‘i Department of Health reported the number of cases had exceeded 100 for the first time. By early August, the daily number exceeded 200. The case numbers this week appear to be declining with 169 new cases reported today. The seven-day positive case rate is currently 3.3%.
“This didn’t happen by accident or wishful thinking; it has been a collaborative effort. There is evidence the initiatives of the health department in partnership with other organizations such as the Hawai‘i National Guard and the University of Hawai‘i and the diligence of those in the community to wear their face masks and practice physical distancing are all working to decrease the number of cases in our state,” said Bruce Anderson, director of the Hawai‘i Department of Health. “We are all doing our part to decrease disease transmission and flatten the curve.”
Anderson added a word of precaution: “But we cannot let our guard down again. If there are surges in the future, we can expect them to be smaller and last for a shorter duration because of our system in place to control the spread more rapidly.”
He noted living with COVID-19 is the new normal and maintaining control of the disease will require ongoing prevention, detection, containment, and treatment work by the Department of Health and its partners. Equally, it will require the ongoing commitment from individuals who test positive or those who have come in close contact with them to cooperate with contact tracers and disease investigators and to follow directives on isolation and quarantine.
“Strengthening our partnerships must also be a priority for testing and to provide appropriate isolation and quarantine facilities, to take any necessary enforcement actions for those who do not comply with recommended directives or orders, for timely reporting by healthcare providers and updates on follow-up care for those who are admitted to hospitals,” Anderson said.