A Maui resident has died from COVID-19, bringing Hawaii’s death toll for the coronavirus to six, according to data from the state Department of Health released just prior to noon Wednesday.
Four of the deaths have occurred on Oahu and two on Maui.
There are now 435 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hawaii, with 25 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours. That’s up from 410 on Tuesday.
The total number of confirmed cases on Oahu grew by 16, from 312 to 328. Maui County’s confirmed cases grew by six, from 48 to 54.
Hawaii County reported three more confirmed cases, up to 26. The number of confirmed cases in Kauai County remained the same at 18.
The number of people hospitalized from the virus — 42 — remained unchanged compared to Tuesday.
The fact that confirmed cases are growing more slowly than other locations is a good thing, Hawaii officials said Wednesday.
“The current trajectory of the disease is probably as good as we could expect, in fact better than what I expected,” said Hawaii Health Director Bruce Anderson. “I am confident that we are flattening the curve in Hawaii.”
He said Hawaii has conducted more than 15,000 COVID-19 tests, more per capita than South Korea. He added Hawaii officials will now be testing people who are asymptomatic if they have come in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green said that more than half of Hawaii hospital beds are empty and more than 70% of intensive care unit beds are available. He said Hawaii is only using 12% of its ventilator capacity, 65 out of 535 currently.
Green encouraged people to continue sheltering in place and said that the government policy will need to continue through the end of April.
Gov. David Ige has implemented a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travelers entering Hawaii to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The move and Oahu’s shelter-in-place requirements, along with other policies aimed at quelling the virus, have crashed the state’s tourism industry and forced nearly 200,000 people to apply for unemployment insurance.
Still, some want Ige to shut down travel to the state completely. Ige said Wednesday said he has had extensive conversations with Federal Aviation Administration officials about shutting down the airport but said, “They would not consider non-aeronautical reasons for shutting down an airport” and that “making that request would be a waste of time.”
“It’s impossible to enforce, it would be impossible to implement,” he said. “We should be focused on quarantine which is something that is clearly within our authority.”
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