Green warns of COVID-19 hospital surge

  • Green

An additional 173 new cases of COVID-19 were announced Wednesday, pushing the state’s total case count to 2,389 as Lt. Gov. Josh Green warned of an impending hospital surge.

The new cases — all on Oahu — were among 1,334 known active cases across the state, including seven cases on the Big Island, according to the Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center. On Wednesday, 83 of those cases required hospitalization. Hawaii County Civil Defense said no one was currently hospitalized on Hawaii Island.

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As of Wednesday, 52% or 127 of the state’s 244 intensive care unit beds were occupied, according to Green, a practicing ER physician at Kohala Hospital. Fifteen of those beds hold patients being treated for COVID-19.

Ventilator use is currently at 16% with 73 of the 459 ventilators available in the state being used. Thirteen were assisting COVID-19 patients.

“Those numbers are creeping up. It is a concern,” said Green via a video posted on Facebook urging viewers to wear face coverings, practice social distancing and not gather in groups larger than 10 people. “But what I’m worried about is we have 83 cases, two of our hospitals are now approaching ICU capacity.

“Guys, this hospital surge is happening. About Aug. 10 (Monday), we will see a reflection of this big uptick in cases. That’s what I’m worried about, so please, this weekend, we’re going to be real quiet, be safe at home, that’s the better approach,” he continued.

Kona Community Hospital spokesperson Judy Donovan said Wednesday evening that 49 of the facility’s 94 beds were available. Two ventilators are currently in use by non-COVID patients. One inpatient who previously tested positive for COVID-19 remains hospitalized.

“We are not ‘at capacity’ in any unit,” Donovan said.

Since Feb. 28, Hawaii has now seen 2,763 positive tests for COVID-19, according to the Joint Information Center. To date, 214 patients have required hospitalization, including the 83 hospitalized as of Wednesday. Just four Hawaii Island residents have required hospital care.

More than 86% of the state’s cases have been on Oahu, which has recorded 2,934 positive tests for the novel coronavirus. Maui County has seen the second highest number of cases at 177 followed by Hawaii County with 122 and Kauai County with 47.

To date, 134,909 people have been tested in Hawaii for COVID-19 with an average of just over 2% testing positive. Green said the 173 new cases announced Wednesday is 7.2% of 2,383 tests conducted. That figure is down from 7.9% on Tuesday.

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Of the 27 deaths reported among Hawaii residents to date, 20 were on Oahu, six were on Maui and one was a Kauai resident receiving treatment in Arizona at the time he died. The most recent death was reported Tuesday was a Honolulu man age 40 to 59.

Hawaii has the lowest mortality in the nation at 1.8 deaths per 100,000 residents, according to information provided by Green on Wednesday.

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