(BIVN) – There was a record 4,789 newly reported cases of COVID-19 in the State of Hawaiʻi on Thursday, up from the 2,611 cases reported on Wednesday. Of that number, a record 508 new cases were identified on Hawaiʻi island, up from the 156 reported the day before.
215 people are hospitalized because of COVID-19 statewide, reported Lieutenant Governor Josh Green on Thursday. 101 of those hospitalized are vaccinated. Green says 24 are in the ICU.
“Hawaii County is being severely affected by the current surge in positive COVID cases due to the Omicron variant,” wrote the Kona Community Hospital in a community update. “Over the weekend, numerous employees and medical staff either tested positive or were directly exposed to COVID. These employees are now under the purview of the DOH.”
“Multiple departments are now operating under challenging staffing conditions,” the Kona hospital continued. “Subsequently, as of Thursday, December 31, we have implemented strict staffing strategies in alignment with current CDC and DOH guidelines for exposed and/or COVID-positive employees. This decision was not made lightly, but is vital to our ability to continue providing patient care throughout the hospital.”
The hospital also emphasized that the Omicron variant “is NOT neutralized by Regen-cove antibodies. Therefore, KCH will no longer offer Regen-cove antibodies as a COVID therapy. Please do not come to the emergency department for antibody therapies. ED staff will not be able to accommodate these requests.” Kona added that its pharmacy is ordering Sotrovimab, which will be effective against the Omicron variant. “However, we have no information as to when to expect a delivery, or what the administration criteria will be,” the hospital added.
Health officials are currently monitoring 2,500 active cases on Hawaiʻi island. The test positivity rate in Hawaiʻi County over the last two-weeks has jumped up to 17.4%. There has been a 14-day average of 248 new cases per day on the Big Island. On Oʻahu, where 3,245 new cases were reported today, there is a high test positivity rate of 20.5%.
On the Health Department’s zip code area map showing reported COVID-19 cases with onset dates in the past 14 days, there are now twenty (20) zip code areas on the Big Island showing over 10 cases, with eight (8) of those areas showing over 50 cases. Hilo has recorded over 900 cases. Zip code areas not listed below have recorded less than 10 cases in 14 days.
- 96720 (Hilo) – 909 cases
- 96781 (Papaikou) – 16 cases
- 96783 (Pepeʻekeo) – 34 cases
- 96773* (North Hilo) – 31 cases
- 96776 (Paʻauilo) – 12 cases
- 96727 (Honokaʻa) – 63 cases
- 96755 (Kapaʻau) – 45 cases
- 96719 (Hawi) – 14 cases
- 96743 (Kohala/Waimea) – 149 cases
- 96738 (Waikoloa) – 71 cases
- 96740 (Kona) – 396 cases
- 96725 (Holualoa) – 26 cases
- 96750 (Kealakekua) – 26 cases
- 96704* (South Kona) – 37 cases
- 96772 (Naʻalehu) – 19 cases
- 96785 (Volcano) – 14 cases
- 96749 (Puna/Keaʻau) – 260 cases
- 96760 (Kurtistown) – 34 cases
- 96771 (Puna mauka) – 70 cases
- 96778 (Puna makai) – 146 cases
* The 96773 zip code area includes zip code areas 96710, 96774, 96728, 96764, and 96780. The 96704 zip code area includes zip code areas 96726.
Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense said that testing will be available today at the following locations:
- Hilo at the Afook Chinen Civic from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Kaʻū at Naʻalehu Community Center from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Kaʻū at Pahala Community Center from 12 noon p.m. to 2 p.m.
The State of Hawaiʻi says 2,572,330 total COVID-19 vaccines have been administered. Health officials say 74.6% percent of the State population has been fully vaccinated. 80.2% of the population has initiated vaccination, and 26.6% has gotten a third dose. On Hawaiʻi island, 67% has now completed vaccination.
Booster Shot Eligibility Expands
The Hawaiʻi Department of Health says it is adopting the most recent COVID-19 booster shot recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- DOH recommends a single Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer) vaccine booster shot for everyone ages 12 – 17 who completed their primary vaccine series at least five months ago.
- People 18 and older who completed their primary series of Pfizer vaccine at least five months ago should get an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) booster.
- Moderately to severely immunocompromised children ages 5-11 should get an additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine 28 days after their second shot.
“It is important all people covered by these new recommendations take advantage of the extra layer of protection that booster shots provide. They ramp up the level of your neutralizing antibodies tremendously,” said State Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char, FACEP.
“The booster interval recommendation for people who received the J&J vaccine (2 months) or the Moderna vaccine (6 months), has not changed,” said the DOH. “Only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for children aged 5-11.”