Hawaii health officials are calling on public schools to take extra precautions during end-of-year celebratory events after Covid-19 and flu outbreaks were linked to high school proms on Oahu.
The state Department of Health issued the warning as part of a cluster report released Friday following investigations into the two proms, which were held last month.
Schools have resumed in-person graduations and other events despite a recent uptick in Covid cases statewide.
One school contacted the department after 37 students reported symptoms after going to the prom, which had more than 300 people in attendance. The report said six of them tested positive for Covid-19 and four others tested positive for Type A influenza. One individual tested positive for both illnesses, it said.
In all, 35 of those who had symptoms said they took a Covid test either at home or via a lab, but the health department said the total was likely an undercount.
“With limited influenza testing and home test reporting, the true number of infections was likely higher than reported,” the report said.
In another case, the health department said 16 people had Covid cases associated with a high school prom on Oahu that had more than 600 people in attendance. Three of those were secondary cases confirmed among household contacts, it said.
Both schools had required all prom-goers to be vaccinated or submit a negative Covid test within 48 hours of the event, according to the report.
“However, both proms were held indoors, which can contribute to higher risk of Covid-19 transmission among employees,” it said.
It urged people to take precautions including wearing masks and social distancing when participating in large gatherings.
The health department has begun posting Covid case counts on a weekly basis instead of daily as the numbers remain well below the peaks of surges earlier in the pandemic.
On Wednesday, Hawaii reported a weekly average of 485 cases per day, up from 89 in mid-March. The positivity rate rose to 11.5% statewide.
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