The Hawaii Department of Health confirmed three new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, including one each on Maui and Oahu and one involving a Hawaii resident on the mainland.

The new cases bring the statewide total since the start of the pandemic to 631. The health department reduced the number of cases listed for Oahu Saturday from 408 to 407. That new number includes two fewer, one as a result of “data cleaning” and another recategorized to Hawaii County, offset by one new case.

Local residents waited patiently in a long line that wrapped around the block to receive food at a distribution event by the Na Kupuna Makamae Center, in Honolulu, HI, Friday, May 8, 2020. The weekly project is the result of a partnership between the Pacific Gateway Center, Aloha Harvest, and Help is on the Way organizations. (Ronen Zilberman photo Civil Beat)
Hawaii residents hit hard economically have waited in long lines for food, even as the state’s COVID-19 case count remains low. Ronen Zilberman/Civil Beat/2020

Hawaii has seen a steady flattening of the case curve since mid-April. On Friday, there were no new cases on the islands for the first time since mid-March. But health officials warned that the lull did not mean the end of the outbreak in Hawaii and that as restrictions on businesses and travel began to loosen, the number of cases will inevitably go up. Residents who travel to hotspots on the mainland and then return pose a risk for spread, they said.

Seventeen people have died so far in Hawaii, including 11 on Oahu. A total of 81 have required hospitalization.

As retail stores begin to reopen, state and local officials are still debating what needs to be done to minimize spread in Hawaii, with some calling for a bigger force of “contact tracers” who alert those who have been in proximity to those who have come down with COVID-19.

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