Hawaii ends 2021 with record surge of COVID-19 cases

HONOLULU — Hawaii has reported another day of near-record coronavirus cases, ending the year with a surging infection rate and hospitals on edge.

Health officials said there were 3,290 new cases on Friday. The state more than doubled a previous delta variant record Thursday after reporting nearly 3,500 new cases.


The Big Island also reported a record number of new cases Friday at 256, breaking a record set at 242 on Thursday. The previous record of 206 cases in a single day was reported earlier this year amid the delta surge. With the new cases reported Friday, Hawaii County has now reported 13,117.

The state of about 1.5 million people recorded an additional four deaths Friday, none of which were on the Big Island. Hawaii has reported nearly 1,100 deaths since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.

The Big Island had reported 152 of those deaths as of Friday. That means 66 of those deaths — 43% — have occurred since Sept. 28, 2021, equating to a death every 1.4 days over the past three months.

The seven-day average test positivity rate for the state was more than 15%. On Oahu, the state’s most populous island where the majority of cases are being detected, the average positivity rate was over 17%. The Big Island’s rate was 11.8%.

Hawaii hospital officials have said they are already nearly full with non-coronavirus patients and worry about staffing shortages affecting their ability to care for a possible wave of new COVID-19 patients in early 2022.

State officials and island mayors did not add any new restrictions ahead of the New Year holiday. Most COVID rules were dropped in early December just before the omicron variant arrived. The University of Hawaii said it would hold most classes online when the semester begins in January.

More than 700,000 travelers have arrived in Hawaii in December, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Hawaii requires travelers to be vaccinated or provide a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours before arrival, or face quarantine. The U.S. now requires international travelers to test within 24 hours of their trip, regardless of nationality or vaccination status.

Statewide there have been nearly 110,000 confirmed coronavirus cases throughout the pandemic. There were more than 20,000 active COVID-19 infections in Hawaii on New Year’s Eve.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.