On Thursday, a second person in Hawaii died due to coronavirus complications, and Molokai announced its first COVID-19 case.
“As we come together with expressions of sympathy and support – we must also remember to help each other, to protect your health and the health of loved ones and your community,” Gov. David Ige said in an emailed statement.
The governor’s announcement of the second death came shortly after the Department of Health’s daily case count at noon, which did not include a second death in its tally. The State of Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center (JIC) told Civil Beat it did not include the second death in its noon report because of a “human error” and the website is “being corrected to reflect two total deaths.”
At a press conference Thursday, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the person who died was an Oahu resident. He urged Oahu residents to start wearing masks in public to prevent transmission of the virus. Similar national guidance was expected Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Hawaii continues to rise. On Thursday, Hawaii’s COVID-19 infection count reached 285 cases, 27 of which were confirmed within the last 24 hours.
Molokai had its first case of coronavirus Thursday afternoon — an adult male who was transferred to a hospital on Oahu, Hawaii News Now reported.
For the past several days, more than 20 new cases have been confirmed each day. If the trend continues, the state could see more than 300 cases by this weekend — an increase of 100 cases within a week.
Most of the new cases verified on Thursday were in Honolulu, along with one new case on Maui. Two others were still under investigation by the Department of Health.
Oahu has seen the most cases to date, with 206 officially diagnosed. Maui has confirmed 27 COVID-19 cases, Hawaii County has 18, and Kauai has 12. On Thursday there were 20 other cases “pending” and undergoing contact tracing by the health department.
Fifteen people in Hawaii were said to require hospitalization, although there may be many more people in hospitals with coronavirus-related issues that have not yet been diagnosed.
As of Thursday, 73 people had been released from isolation, indicating recovery.
As of Thursday, the health department classified a dozen cases as community-transmitted. There were 158 categorized as travel-related infections, but another 115 cases were categorized “unknown,” with origins not yet determined by health officials.
About 86% of all confirmed cases are among Hawaii residents, the DOH reports. Twenty-two are among people who do not have Hawaii residency, and 23 others’ residences are not yet determined.
The University of Hawaii also announced in an email Thursday that an employee at UH Maui College and a UH Manoa graduate student tested positive for COVID-19.
The graduate student was among those already counted, but it’s unclear if the employee on Maui was as well.
“Both are in good condition, in isolation at home and in regular contact with health care providers. We wish them both a speedy recovery,” UH President David Lassner wrote in the email.
DOH is conducting contact tracing with the help of the University of Hawaii, and the risk of transmission to others at the university is considered low, according to the email.
The State’s JIC told Civil Beat by email Thursday that 11,299 tests have been conducted in Hawaii to date. The more than 11,000 count includes reports from the health department’s State Laboratories Division, the Tripler Army Medical Center Laboratory, and private commercial labs Clinical Labs of Hawaii and Diagnostic Laboratory Services.
Test results from hospitals such as Kaiser Permanente are still pending, according to Dan Dennison, the lead public information officer for the JIC.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green, the state’s COVID-19 liaison for the medical community, told Civil Beat nearly 2,400 test results from mainland laboratories are still pending.
Commercial Hawaii laboratories like CLH and DLS have sent specimens to sister laboratories elsewhere in the country to run diagnostic tests when their local labs do not have the resources or capacity to conduct all tests in-state.
Civil Beat reporter Blaze Lovell contributed to this story.
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