The state Department of Health attributed the questionable new totals to missing data from both Saturday and Sunday. The state said in a press release that Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii is conducting most of the tests in the state now and that the results are days behind.
“We are missing electronic laboratory reporting (ELR) data from one of the private clinical laboratories, from July 31 to today,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said in the release. “This is likely a result of recent modifications in data reporting required by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. We have advised the affected laboratory to provide manual reporting of data until they’re able to correct the reporting issues. This is impacting our ability to quickly identify and investigate new persons with COVID-19 and to contact trace.”
DOH will likely need to update case numbers from Friday on, the release said, suggesting in coming days Hawaii’s case count will climb considerably. As of Sunday it stood at 2,242.
State officials continue to blame the public’s lack of attention to measures like social distancing and mask wearing as likely causing the continued rise in cases. They noted reports of numerous large beach gatherings over the weekend.
“It’s disappointing and dangerous to people’s health, for anyone to continue to encourage and actively promote these big groups,” Park said. “Everyone should avoid large gatherings and crowded places and use proven, common-sense, and simple steps to protect our community from COVID-19.”
The DOH has said previously that multiple cases have been associated with a yoga class, fire station, funeral events, gyms, socializing at bars and training events. Infections have been traced to workplaces including a construction company and site, non-patient care areas of hospitals, social service organizations, nursing and care homes, retail establishments and warehouse and delivery businesses.
Health officials have said new cases on Oahu are located all over the island including Haleiwa, Hauula, Kaneohe, Laie, Mililani, Wahiawa, Waimanalo, Aiea, Ewa Beach, Honolulu proper, Kailua, Kapolei, Pearl City, Waianae and Waipahu.
DOH does not release more details on cases or investigations, saying the state needs to protect the privacy of the people involved. However, the lack of data made public in Hawaii has drawn widespread criticism from public health professionals and others who say the public needs much more and better information in order to make better decisions.
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