Hawaii health officials reported 236 new COVID-19 infections and two deaths on Thursday. The deaths of an Oahu man older than 60 and a Lanai man between the ages of 40 and 59 took the state’s death toll to 45.
“The Oahu victim had an underlying health condition, was hospitalized and passed away on August 15. The Lanai man also had underlying health conditions and had been hospitalized on Maui,” a state coronavirus spokesperson said in a press release distributed Thursday afternoon.
On Oahu, where disease activity is most prevalent, 230 new COVID-19 diagnoses were made. On Maui, where a cluster of infections associated with Maui Memorial Medical Center is growing, officials identified one new COVID-19 case. Big Island officials recorded five new coronavirus cases.
An average of 220 new cases has been confirmed daily during the past week. The weekly average of new cases has risen throughout the past several weeks, but it ticked down slightly for the first time Thursday. State officials have recorded more cases so far in August than all prior months combined.
U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, who chairs the House Health subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, sent a letter to Gov. David Ige on Wednesday asking for more information about the state’s testing and contact tracing program.
The California congresswoman is pressing for answers on why Hawaii has such a high COVID-19 infection rate and whether the state mismanaged millions of dollars in federal stimulus money aimed at helping with virus prevention efforts.