13 new COVID cases; Civil Defense talks clusters

Thirteen new cases of COVID-19 were reported Friday on the Big Island.

According to Hawaii County Civil Defense, eight individuals were hospitalized and 49 deaths were reported as of Friday.

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Hilo Medical Center said Friday that one COVID-positive patient was hospitalized there.

“Know this increase of coronavirus cases is of great concern and … the coming holidays and traditional gatherings demonstrates the critical need for you to follow the preventative policies of face coverings, distancing and gatherings,” Civil Defense said in a message Friday. “Residents returning from travel should be especially cautious when interacting with others.”

A weekly cluster report issued Friday by the state Department of Health, which looks at the prior 14 days, identified three COVID-19 clusters on the Big Island.

Two clusters stemming from social gatherings on the Big Island resulted in 12 cases of the virus, while one cluster, stemming from a restaurant, resulted in two cases.

Mayor Harry Kim said all three clusters were in West Hawaii.

The restaurant is located in Kona, he said, but did not specify where the social gathering clusters occurred.

However, Kim said in regards to the social gathering clusters that an infected returning traveler had dinner with two neighbors, who both became infected.

One of the neighbors later had dinner with other condo residents, and four became infected. The neighbor also attended a birthday party with 16 others, seven of whom later tested positive for the coronavirus.

The DOH on Friday reported 95 new cases statewide, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 16,936.

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One additional death was reported Friday. A male, aged 60-69, with underlying medical conditions, had been incarcerated out of state and died at a hospital.

Testing will be available 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at the West Hawaii Civic Center and the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.

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