On Monday, two new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Oahu by Hawaii health officials.

The number of new infections diagnosed in the state have been on a downward trend for the past couple of weeks. But public health authorities warn that the virus is expected to resurface as the state opens its economy.

To date, state officials have confirmed 634 cases, 13% of which have required hospitalization and 17 of which resulted in a death. The remaining patients have recovered enough to qualify to be released from isolation.

Food Bank Distribution Leeward Community College Coronavirus
Hawaii residents lined up for a Food Bank distribution at Leeward Community College. Kuʻu Kauanoe/Civil Beat/2020

No new hospitalizations were reported on Monday.

It’s been five days since Gov. David Ige relaxed the statewide stay-at-home order to a “Safer-at-home” order, which gave the green light to certain kinds of businesses to reopen. Some retailers on Maui County reopened on Monday.

Retailers on Kauai and the Big Island may reopen on Thursday, and some retailers on Oahu will be allowed to reopen on Friday.

People are still expected to abide by mandatory quarantine guidelines and wear masks in public, Ige said.

“This does not mean that people should feel free to congregate, gather in large groups and ignore social distancing mandates,” he said at a press conference Monday. “I know that this has been difficult and people want to get out of their homes and socialize, but if we stop following the social distancing guidelines, we will lose all the progress we have achieved today and all of your sacrifices will be meaningless.”

Oahu’s cumulative case count, which far exceeds other counties, is 410. To date, Maui County officials have reported a cumulative 117 cases, Hawaii County has reported 75 cases and Kauai 21.

Eleven Hawaii residents have been diagnosed out of state. More than 90% of cases confirmed by the Department of Health since March have been among Hawaii residents.

Nearly a third of patients older than 60 have been hospitalized, compared to 11% among ages 40 to 59 and about 3% of those ages 20 to 39. No one younger than 20 has been hospitalized.

The 561 patients to date who have been “released from isolation” include patients who are no longer considered infectious under federal guidelines.

Previously, the health department listed the 17 people who died from the virus in that category, but removed them from the list this weekend.

More than 36,600 people have been tested for COVID-19 to date.

Ige said Hawaii’s hospital bed capacity is currently sufficient to handle the demand. The state has a plan to increase contact tracing “should the number of cases grow to 1,000 per day,” he said.

Laboratories across the islands are capable of conducting as many as 3,000 diagnostic tests per day, but currently process 400 to 500 specimens each day based on doctor referrals.

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