On Monday, 29 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the islands, taking the state total to 204.

That’s more that double the number of cases since last Wednesday.

“I think the increases we’ve seen reflects in large part the number of tests being done,” Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson said Monday. “I don’t think it necessarily reflects that the disease is spreading that quickly, however, in other locations where we have seen it spread, it has occurred almost exponentially. A single individual can infect two to three other people, so this is the time to take these mitigation measures seriously.”

Coronavirus testing at Kakaako Waterfront Park. March 29, 2020.

Coronavirus testing at Kakaako Waterfront Park.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Sixteen new cases were confirmed in Honolulu County. Another five were documented in Maui County, and three in Hawaii County.  The remaining five cases are still being investigated by the Department of Health.

One of the 29 cases confirmed Monday was a child under 18 years of age.

“As we do more testing we’re probably going to see more cases among the population, and it may be much more evenly distributed by age group, but the most serious cases we’ve been seeing are among the elderly particularly those with underlying conditions,” Anderson said.

In its press release Monday, the health department included for the first time a comprehensive update on the number of tests conducted statewide by both private and public labs.

Laboratory COVID-19 testing across the state of Hawaii. 

Department of Health

Private clinical laboratories have conducted 8,273 tests to date, and the state laboratories division has conducted another 402. The State Laboratories Division testing includes sentinel surveillance of specimens from patients who were found to not have the flu — all of which have returned negative results. Anderson said that’s a positive sign community transmission is not yet widespread.

Of the 8,675 tests conducted to date, 204 have been confirmed or are presumed to be positve for COVID-19. And most cases have been among Hawaii residents, or 165 out of the 204 documented to date.

There have been no deaths related to the coronavirus in Hawaii.

Hospital Capacity

A dozen people have required hospitalization, state health officials say. But that figure does not count the isolation precautions hospitals have also taken for patients suspected to have COVID-19 infections.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green, the medical community’s liaison for COVID-19, used a whiteboard to illustrate his remarks on Monday. 

Giovonni Parks

“Right now we’re only using 37% of our intensive care unit beds,” Lt. Gov. Josh Green said at Monday’s press conference. “We’re using 58 out of our 534 ventilators now. That means we’re keeping it down. If we do not quarantine at home, those numbers go up very fast.”

All Hawaii residents must abide by the state’s stay-at-home mandate. Any residents or visitors arriving by plane are also subject to a 14-day quarantine.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said Monday that if Hawaii residents stay home, ventilator and bed capacity could be kept down. 

Department of Health

Most of the medical supplies and protective gear Hawaii had in stock has been “burned through,” Green said.

“The good news is we’ve made some very large orders through Gen. Kenneth Hara’s team and those orders are now coming in,” he said, noting the latest federal shipment of medical supplies and equipment arrived Sunday evening.

Recoveries

Fifty-five people have recovered, or as the health department calls it, “released from isolation” after their fevers had gone and they showed no symptoms for three days straight.

Now that private laboratories have testing capabilities in state, health officials say patients can expect test results to turnaround more quickly, which could also play a role in the increasing number of cases.

The majority of cases have been on Oahu, where 139 people have been infected. Maui has had 25 cases, Hawaii County 15, and Kauai county 12 cases to date.

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