More Pacific Islanders, excluding Native Hawaiians, have been hospitalized for COVID-19 than members of any other racial or ethnic community in Hawaii, comprising 33% of Hawaii coronavirus hospitalizations even though they make up just 4% of the state’s population.
As of Monday, 339 Pacific Islanders have been hospitalized for the coronavirus, more than three times the number of white Hawaii residents and nearly three times as many Japanese residents in the islands.
Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders, including Polynesians, Micronesians and Melanesians, make up 4% of Hawaii’s population of nearly 1.4 million, compared with 25% for white residents and 15% for Japanese residents. Pacific Islanders have relatively high rates of diabetes, obesity and other diseases that are associated with worse COVID-19 outcomes.
Filipinos, who make up 16% of the state’s population, comprised 22% or 226 COVID-19 hospitalizations, the next-highest number for any racial or ethnic group in Hawaii. That’s twice the number of white residents who have been hospitalized.
The hospitalization data reflects trends in Hawaii’s pandemic case counts: Pacific Islanders and Filipinos are the only Hawaii ethnic groups that are disproportionately represented in the state’s reported coronavirus and hospitalization data.
Native Hawaiians don’t have a disproportionately high rate of coronavirus cases or hospitalizations. But they do represent the third-highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, reporting 162 hospitalizations. Like Filipinos and other Pacific Islanders, Native Hawaiians have relatively high rates of noncommunicable diseases like diabetes.
The data isn’t complete. The state doesn’t know the hospitalization status of more than 1,800 COVID-19 cases in which race data is available. And race data is missing for nearly 4,400 cases.