Hawaii reported 3,484 new coronavirus cases Thursday, a new single-day pandemic high that far exceeds the last record high of 2,205 cases on Sunday.

The case count comes just a day before New Year’s Eve, when many Hawaii residents are expected to gather indoors and spread the virus. Public health officials have been urging people to move holiday celebrations outdoors, and Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has asked — but is not requiring — businesses to suspend dancing indoors.

Medical technicians collect COVID-19 nose swab samples from people lined up in their cars, around the block, at the Blaisdell drive-through testing site in Honolulu, Monday, December 27, 2021. (Ronen Zilberman photo Civil Beat)
Medical technicians collect COVID-19 nose swab samples from people who lined up in their cars around the block for the tests. Ronen Zilberman/Civil Beat/2021

The mayor is holding off on imposing restrictions on gathering sizes or shutting down nightclubs despite appeals from the Department of Health. Instead, both the city and the state are asking people to exercise personal responsibility and get vaccinated and boosted.

“We urge people to avoid large gatherings, wear masks indoors, gather outdoors, and maintain distance from others,” said Brooks Baehr, spokesman for the Department of Health.

Blangiardi said he is open to adding restrictions if daily Covid hospitalizations rise above 150. On Wednesday, there were 127 Covid hospitalizations and on Thursday the state reported six more hospitalizations and zero deaths.

The vast majority of Covid cases in Honolulu are the highly transmissible variant omicron, and the test positivity rate is more than 16%. Covid positivity rates and cases are up all over the state, with cases rising more than 400% over the past 14 days in every county.

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