Five new cases were verified by the Department of Health on Thursday, including one case on Maui, three new cases on Hawaii Island and one Hawaii resident diagnosed outside of Hawaii.

Ten new recoveries were reported Thursday as well. Of the 618 people in Hawaii documented by DOH with COVID-19 infections to date, 526 of them have recovered to be released from isolation.

The state’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 16, including 11 people on Oahu and five on Maui.

Elderly lady uses gloves to handle her wallet while waiting in line at Moiliili Longs Drugs.
Grocery shopping has always been permitted during the stay-at-home order for those who are not under a mandatory quarantine. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

Those who do not require hospitalization but have been exposed or have fallen ill with the coronavirus must stay home and self-isolate for 14 days. To qualify to be released from isolation, the state is following federal guidelines which require at least a week to have passed since the patient’s symptoms began and three days have passed since their fever has resolved.

Seventy people remain hospitalized across the state, including 53 on Oahu, 14 on Maui, and one patient each on the Big Island and Kauai. Among the nine Hawaii residents diagnosed with COVID-19 to date, one is hospitalized.

On Thursday, DOH announced it had contracted a contact-tracing and monitoring system called HealthSpace, which will allow COVID-19 positive patients and their contacts to report their symptoms to public health officials electronically.

DOH continues to monitor a cluster of infections that began at Maui Memorial Medical Center, where 59 COVID-19 positive patients are being cared for. The string of infections involve involves 38 staff and 21 patients. More than 300 people were tested in relation to the outbreak.

Maui’s documented COVID-19 patient count stands at 116 as of Thursday, with one new recovery reported on Wednesday. Eighty-four people on Maui have recovered to date.

Five more recoveries were reported in Hawaii County, with state health officials reporting a total of 58 recoveries on the Big Island among the 73 cases confirmed.

As of Wednesday, 46 people over the age of 60 are hospitalized for COVID-19 related conditions, according to the state health department. Department of Health

On Wednesday, Oahu had no new cases to report, and its cumulative infection count remains at 399. Oahu reported four more recoveries, marking 364 people released from isolation to date.

Only one active case of COVID-19 remains on Kauai, and the patient is hospitalized. The island has reported no new infections for more than two weeks — 20 of the 21 people diagnosed to date have qualified to be released from isolation.

Daily case counts reported by DOH fluctuate and lag, depending on when specimens were collected and where they were processed. The median delay time between a patient’s swab sample and the test result report date is three days, according to DOH.

The confirmed cases reported each day are likely among patients who had symptoms that date back as many as 10 days prior. DOH receives electronic reports of positive cases and that’s when it initiates an investigation.

As of Wednesday, 29,757 people had been tested for the virus in Hawaii.

Cases confirmed by the health department each day come at a lag — sometimes as many as 10 days later. Department of Health

Clinical Labs Hawaii began Thursday to conduct antibody tests. Public officials say the antibody tests could help provide background information to the state Department of Health and doctors as they make decisions about a patient’s care or whether or not they should self-quarantine and isolate themselves from the community. But the state health department is not endorsing the use of antibody testing at this time, according to a spokesperson with the State of Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center.

The antibody tests can show whether or not someone has had an immune response, “irrespective of whether they had symptoms or not,” DOH Director Bruce Anderson said. Still, those who have been found to have antibodies may still be infectious. The merits of such testing is still being researched, and many antibody tests have not yet received FDA approval.

“These people may be less susceptible to the virus and that may be helpful as well when you look at managing the cases,” Anderson said. “There’s a lot of potential uses for an antibody test but you need to look at the strength of any tests. Each have their own applications and value.”

On Thursday, Honolulu County officials lifted restrictions on several kinds of businesses, including some real estate services, golf courses, car dealerships, automated and mobile service providers, and any businesses that work with few customers and can abide by six-foot social distancing rules.

This is an ongoing story. Please check back at Civil Beat for more updates.

Help Power Local, Nonprofit News.

Across the nation and in Hawaii, news organizations are downsizing and closing their doors due to the ever-rising costs of keeping local journalism alive and well.

While Civil Beat has grown year over year, still only 1% of our readers are donors, and we need your help now more than ever.

Make a gift today of any amount, and your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $20,500, thanks to a generous group of Civil Beat donors.

About the Author