DOH reports 109 new COVID-19 cases as tally hits 1,865

  • Premier Medical Group employee Breanne Ichiki performs a COVID Rapid Test earlier in July at Kona Community Hospital. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

State health officials on Wednesday reported 109 new cases of COVID-19, another single-day record that had been anticipated due to the closure of labs as Hurricane Douglas passed this weekend.

Ninety-eight of the new cases were on Oahu, nine on Maui, and two on Kauai, according to the COVID-19 Joint Information Center.

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Officials said a total of 5,160 tests were processed between Saturday and Wednesday. Normally, about 1,000 to 2,000 tests are processed each day.

“The dramatic increase in cases reported today was anticipated based on recent trends since the Fourth of July weekend, which continue,” said Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson. “We are seeing an increase in small and large social gatherings, including gatherings on beaches and in our parks, at homes and in workplaces. We have also recently seen an increase in cases associated with bars, gyms other establishments where physical distancing and masking is not regularly practiced. Based on data collected on cases through our investigations and contact tracing, we are recommending that strategic actions be taken to further restrict activities associated with these case.”

Venues where multiple clusters have been identified, such as in bars and gyms, will be targeted, said Anderson.

Gov. David Ige assured the public Wednesday the spike is manageable, and the state still has adequate health care capacity. However, the governor is proposing counties reinstate some measures in coordination with the state in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

This includes limiting social gatherings to 10 people or fewer with an exception for controlled environments like schools and other cohorts where safe practices are being followed and monitored; re-closing bars; working with counties to reinstate restrictions on gatherings in parks, consistent with the 10 or fewer people rule; and re-evaluating guidelines issued for sports activities.

“We are all responsible for each other. Public health officials and all the available data say the best defense against COVID-19 is still taking personal responsibility. We cannot become complacent. Stay 6 feet apart, wear your mask, wash your hands, avoid large gatherings, stay home if you’re sick, and keep your kids home if they’re sick. We can beat this if we all work together,” Ige said.

The 109 new cases announced Wednesday brings the state’s total case count to 1,865. To date, Oahu has accounted for the majority of the cases at 1,516, followed by Maui County with 163 cases, Hawaii County with 116 and Kauai County with 47. Twenty-three residents have tested positive while out of the state.

Of the Hawaii residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, 1,215 of those cases have since recovered and been released from isolation. That includes 114 of the 116 cases on Hawaii Island.

Statewide, 173 patients have required hospitalization, including four on Hawaii Island. Sixty one people were hospitalized as of Wednesday.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said 46% or 112 out of the state’s 244 intensive care unit beds were in use Wednesday with 15 of those beds being occupied by COVID-19 patients. Fourteen percent, or 64 of the state’s 459 ventilators, are in use with nine being utilized by COVID-19 patients.

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To date, there has been a roughly 11% hospitalization rate for people who catch COVID-19, Green said, also noting that hospitalizations usually lag behind daily case counts because it takes time for the disease to progress in patients.

“While our health care capacity is fine now, if this surge in cases continues, we can expect to see an increase in hospitalizations and possible fatalities. We need everyone to do their part in helping slow the spread of COVID-19, including possible new measures from government as Governor Ige mentioned, and a greater need for personal responsibility for wearing masks and social distancing,” he said.