State health officials reported 221 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths on Saturday.

Five new cases were on Maui, 24 were on Hawaii island and 191 were on Oahu. One case was out of state. The state did not release information about the new deaths.

Of 9,693 cases identified in Hawaii, 6% have required hospitalization, and 93% were residents.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said in a statement Saturday that he was working with his staff and state and local officials to make sure they utilize all the available federal help.

He highlighted the outbreak at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo, where a sixth death was reported Saturday by Hawaii News Now. Hilo Medical Center officials told Hawaii News Now that as of Friday afternoon, a total of 65 residents and employees at the long-term care home for veterans are confirmed positive for COVID-19.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs is capable of doing even more, but we cannot be shy about asking them for help,” Schatz said. “We also need to focus on infection control best practices to contain this outbreak. The state should ask VA to share infection control specialists, provide additional testing, and continue to share PPE to get this under control.”

He called on the state to dramatically expand testing at elder care facilities to protect these vulnerable residents and their care workers.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim has opened a coronavirus Central Command Post in an effort to get better communication between county, state and federal agencies.

The surge of cases on Hawaii island has been fast. The number of active cases on the island jumped from 16 to 151 between Aug. 15 and Aug. 30, according to daily bulletins generated by the Hawaii County Civil Defense. There were 267 active cases as of Saturday.

The state’s largest outbreak was at Oahu Community Correctional Center, which on Saturday reported four new cases among staff. There are now 42 active cases among staff and 59 active cases among inmates at OCCC, which has had 267 people infected by COVID-19.

Nolan Espinda stepped down as head of the Department of Public Safety amid outcry from union leaders. His retirement is effective Oct. 1.

The state is in the midst of a major personnel shakeup that extends well beyond Espinda.

State Epidemiologist Sarah Park is on a leave of absence from her position directing the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Department of Health officials said late Thursday.

And earlier this week, Gov. David Ige said Health Director Bruce Anderson, Park’s boss, would be retiring in mid-September.

Decades-old technology, along with other IT inefficiencies, has hampered contact tracing efforts by creating heaping laborious data-entry work on an overburdened staff at the health department, according to Dr. Emily Roberson, who was recently leading the Department of Health’s Disease Investigation Branch. She briefly took leave while the state figured out a management problem.

The latest breakdown of cases by age group shows that while most hospitalizations have been among elderly people with COVID-19, children and adults under the age of 30 have made up nearly a third of all confirmed virus cases in the state.

For more information, check the Hawaii Department of Health COVID-19 site and the Hawaii Data Collaborative COVID-19 Tracking site.

Cases, Deaths And COVID-19 Testing In Hawaii

COVID-19 Cases
Tests Administered

Hawaii COVID-19 Cases By County

Daily New COVID-19 Cases

Number Of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In U.S.

COVID-19 Cases Worldwide

Want more information on COVID-19 in Hawaii? You can read all of Civil Beat’s coronavirus coverage, find answers to frequently asked questions or sign up for email newsletter updates — all for free. And check out pictures of how community groups and volunteers have been helping out in our Community Scrapbook.

What sets us apart.

Regardless of who or what you voted for, we hope we’ve distinguished ourselves from other news media through our election coverage as well as our commitment to strengthening the civic health of Hawaii.

Now, we’re asking you to consider becoming part of something larger than yourself by joining as a Civil Beat member.

Make a gift today and support independent journalism focused on improving Hawaii’s democracy.