Hawaii health officials reported four COVID-19 related deaths Thursday, along with 306 new cases verified across the islands.
Three women and one man on Oahu died, taking the state’s COVID-19 related fatality count to 55. All were older than 70 years old and had been been hospitalized with underlying medical conditions.
Ten new COVID-19 cases were verified on Hawaii island, seven on Maui, and the remaining 289 cases on Oahu. An average of nearly 250 new COVID-19 cases have been verified daily during the last week, with the bulk of them on Oahu. Since March, the greatest proportion of people diagnosed with COVID-19 were between 18 and 39 years old.
Many of the recent cases on Maui have been associated with a cluster at Maui Memorial Medical Center. Tracy Dallarda, MMMC spokeswoman, said no new cases were found among hospital patients or staff Thursday, but the hospital is currently caring for 30 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and another 38 health care workers have been diagnosed. Maui’s Hale Makua Health Services is caring for one COVID-19 positive asymptomatic elderly resident in isolation in Kahului facility. The two cases found there this month prompted Hale Makua to test 23 residents and 61 staff, all of whom had tests that returned negative, according to CEO Wesley Lo.
“Case investigators continue to see COVID-19 clusters involving parties or gatherings in private homes such as birthday parties, funerals, get-togethers and religious gatherings,” a state COVID-19 response spokesman said Thursday afternoon in a statement. “These gatherings have no masking and no distancing and mostly involve families and friends.”
A new report from the Hawaii State Auditor says the auditor’s office “encountered barriers, delays, and ultimately were denied access to those responsible for leading the department’s contact tracing.” The department has been criticized for failing to hire enough contact tracers before the second wave of infection, which was expected to come after businesses and activities resumed after the state’s first shut down in March.