(BIVN) – There were 3,929 newly reported cases of COVID-19 in the State of Hawaiʻi on Wednesday, down from the 6,252 cases reported on Tuesday. Of that number, 240 new cases were identified on Hawaiʻi island, down from the record 834 cases reported the day before.
Hospitalizations with COVID-19 have decreased slightly over the last few days. On Wednesday, the Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense reported the number is 39.
“Positive cases continue to be elevated,” the civil defense message stated. “Please protect yourself, your family, and your community from coronavirus by following the preventive measures of wearing face coverings, distancing, disinfecting your hands, limiting and avoiding gatherings, staying home, especially when sick, and vaccinating.”
“The rampant surge of the Omicron variant has proven COVID-19 is not going away any time soon,” said U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele, who today outlined 10 steps he says Hawaiʻi should take to deal with the evolving pandemic. “We must implement immediate solutions as well as prepare contingency plans for future mutations of the coronavirus and other novel viruses, otherwise we will be in a perpetual state of emergency. Failure to immediately implement an enduring, multi-year statewide plan will result in more residents experiencing infection and mortality. Health inequities will widen especially in our Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities and billions will be lost from our state’s economy.”
Health officials are currently monitoring 5,163 active cases on Hawaiʻi island. There has been a 14-day average of 398 new cases per day on the Big Island. The test positivity rate for the same time period is no longer available, as the Health Department has been overwhelmed by the recent high case counts.
On the Health Department’s zip code area map showing reported COVID-19 cases with onset dates in the past 14 days, there are twenty-two (22) zip code areas on the Big Island showing over 10 cases, with sixteen (16) of those areas showing over 50 cases. Hilo and Kona have recorded over 1,000 cases in that time. Zip code areas not listed below have recorded less than 10 cases in 14 days.
- 96720 (Hilo) – 1,404 cases
- 96781 (Papaikou) – 50 cases
- 96783 (Pepeʻekeo) – 69 cases
- 96773* (North Hilo) – 58 cases
- 96776 (Paʻauilo) – 34 cases
- 96727 (Honokaʻa) – 132 cases
- 96755 (Kapaʻau) – 92 cases
- 96719 (Hawi) – 42 cases
- 96743 (Kohala/Waimea) – 360 cases
- 96738 (Waikoloa) – 164 cases
- 96740 (Kona) – 1,056 cases
- 96725 (Holualoa) – 66 cases
- 96750 (Kealakekua) – 122 cases
- 96704* (South Kona) – 129 cases
- 96737 (Ocean View) – 34 cases
- 96772 (Naʻalehu) – 56 cases
- 96777 (Pahala) – 41 cases
- 96785 (Volcano) – 36 cases
- 96749 (Puna/Keaʻau) – 543 cases
- 96760 (Kurtistown) – 55 cases
- 96771 (Puna mauka) – 145 cases
- 96778 (Puna makai) – 367 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-Chnen Civic Center from 12 noon to 7 p.m.
- Kona at Old Kona Airport Pavilion from 12 noon to 7 p.m.
The State of Hawaiʻi says 2,659,585 total COVID-19 vaccines have been administered. Health officials say 75.3% percent of the State population has been fully vaccinated. 81.2% of the population has initiated vaccination, and 30.7% has gotten a third dose. On Hawaiʻi island, 67% has completed vaccination.
FEMA Obligates $47.9 Million To Hire 955 Nurses In Hawaiʻi
From the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Wednesday announced that it has obligated the advance of more than $47 million to pay for nearly 1,000 state-contracted medical staff to assist hospitals in Hawai‘i that are struggling with the omicron surge of COVID-19.
The advance funding represents half of the $95.8 million sought by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) at the request of the Healthcare Association of Hawai‘i. The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) managed and facilitated the emergency funding request to FEMA as part of the State’s COVID response.
The funding is part of FEMA’s Public Assistance program to reimburse eligible costs for emergency personnel assisting with COVID response work. Allowable expenses covered by 100% federal funds during the pandemic include medical surge personnel to supplement existing staff at hospitals to reduce or eliminate the spread of the virus.
DOH sought the funding to deploy 955 medical personnel from Jan. 10, 2022 until April 1, 2022. Personnel hired under the DOH contract with ProLink Healthcare began deploying to Hawaii hospitals in the past week.
DOH and HIEMA asked to have 50% of the funding – $47. 9 million – obligated in advance to expedite payment to the medical personnel, whose services have been in high demand as the omicron variant has sent COVID infections rocketing to new highs around the world. FEMA on Wednesday confirmed that those advance funds have been obligated.
The omicron surge has put a strain on medical workers and hospitals as they cope with demand for services and illnesses among their own staffs.
Luke Meyers, HI-EMA Administrator, thanked FEMA for its assistance in quickly approving the complex application and financial review.
“We really appreciate all the partners on the (FEMA) Region IX Team. These resources will be vital as we continue to battle the current COVID-19 wave,” he said.