DOH reports 11 new state COVID deaths


Six more COVID-19 deaths were reported in Hawaii County since Dec. 31, according to the state Department of Health.

Three were reported this week, including a man between the ages of 50 and 59, a man between 70 and 79, and a woman over the age of 80, all of whom were hospitalized and had an underlying condition. The other three were reported earlier in January.


Since the pandemic began in 2020, 227 people in Hawaii County have died from COVID-19.

Statewide, there were 11 new deaths reported this week, bringing the state’s overall death toll to 1,752.

The omicron subvariant BQ.1.1 remains the dominant strain in Hawaii County and the state, according to the latest variant report released Tuesday. The variant accounts for 50% of all analyzed COVID-19 cases in the county.

The presence of the XBB.1.5 variant doubled statewide since the last variant report was released on Jan. 18, rising from 4% to 9% of total cases.

“We see XBB.1 and related lineages are expanding in Hawaii, reaching almost 10% of circulating variants,” said epidemiologist David Johnston from the DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division. “Currently, Hawaii County has a community level of ‘Low.’ However, Oahu and Maui counties are at a ‘Medium’ level. Regardless of the community levels, however, this is a good reminder to make sure your COVID-19 vaccinations are up-to-date and that you have gotten the bivalent booster, if eligible.”

The DOH also is monitoring the emergence of a new variant, CH1.1, which has now been detected at low levels in Hawaii. But Johnston said it remains unclear whether CH1.1 will become a widespread variant, or if it will result in more severe infections than previous variants.

“The most important thing to remember is that, even as variant strains continue to evolve, getting boosted is still the best way to prevent severe outcomes of COVID-19 infection,” he added. “There have been early studies published that have shown the bivalent booster to be effective in preventing symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, including infections attributable to BA.5 and XBB-/XBB.1.5-related sublineages.”

The Big Island reported 93 new cases of COVID-19 this week, down from 120 reported the week prior.

Over the last 14-day period, Hilo’s 96720 ZIPcode reported 81 new COVID-19 cases.

The actual number of infections is likely much higher because self-test results are not reported to the state.

Email Grant Philipps at

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