Hawaii health officials reported 17 new COVID-19 infections statewide on Tuesday, an undercount due to a laboratory reporting error.
Those cases reflect tests through Sunday, the state Department of Health wrote in a press release Tuesday afternoon. The electronic laboratory reporting system was then interrupted, officials said, but did not specify for how long or what caused the system error.
The state “anticipates a ‘rebound’ effect of increased case numbers over the next few days as feeds are re-established,” a spokesperson wrote.
The 17 cases recorded Tuesday included 13 on Oahu, three on Maui, and one resident diagnosed out of state.
Severe winter weather in much of the U.S. is also causing delays in COVID-19 vaccine shipments from the mainland to Hawaii, health department spokesman Brooks Baehr told Civil Beat by email Tuesday afternoon.
Some vaccination appointments may need to be rescheduled after a delivery of 14,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine scheduled to arrive Tuesday didn’t make it.
State health officials are expecting 42,800 vaccine doses this week plus an additional 4,400 doses to be delivered directly to local CVS/Longs Drugs pharmacies.
“It is unclear how the weather may impact shipments later this week,” Baehr said.
Clinics and pharmacies have given more than 261,950 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since December. About 10% of the state’s entire population has received at least the first of two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Hawaii remains in phase 1b of its vaccine rollout plan, which includes seniors 75 and older, first responders and other essential workers. The third phase of Hawaii’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan is scheduled to launch in March. That phase, 1c, will include people 65 and older along with other essential workers and people with underlying health conditions.
Hawaii health officials have confirmed a more contagious COVID-19 variant that originated in the United Kingdom is now present on Oahu.
The first two patients were on Oahu and had no relation to one another. They did not have a travel history, which indicates the variant is circulating in the community. The third case confirmed this week was a close contact of the first patient, Dr. Sarah Kemble, the acting state epidemiologist, told Civil Beat by email.
No fatalities were reported. The state COVID-19 death toll is 426.
There are currently 45 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Hawaii, including 16 in intensive care and 12 people on ventilators. During the last peak of infections in September, as many as 50 people needed ventilators.
Statewide, 1% of people tested during the past week have been confirmed to have COVID-19. That figure is 1.8% on Maui and 1.2% on Oahu. Hawaii island and Kauai County had fewer than 1% of patients test positive for COVID in the last week.
Current restrictions on gatherings on Oahu will remain in place for at least another month.
For more information, check this Hawaii Department of Health COVID-19 site or this state site, and the Hawaii Data Collaborative COVID-19 Tracking site. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency also provides this comprehensive dashboard. You can also learn about our daily COVID-19 tracker here.
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.
Civil Beat is a small nonprofit newsroom that provides free content with no paywall. That means readership growth alone can’t sustain our journalism.
The truth is that less than 1% of our monthly readers are financial supporters. To remain a viable business model for local news, we need a higher percentage of readers-turned-donors.
Will you consider becoming a new donor today?