An elderly Kaua‘i resident was one of three COVID-19-related deaths reported by the Hawai‘i Department of Health over the weekend, bringing the statewide total to 22.
The Kaua‘i man died in Arizona, where he was receiving treatment for several months for underlying medical conditions. The other two deaths were reported on O‘ahu. A woman died in a hospital Sunday morning and had previously been a resident of a care home; and elderly O‘ahu man, who died on July 7, was found with the virus after a review of his health history and discussions with his primary care physician.
“We all extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of these three people,” said State Health Director Bruce Anderson. “The best tribute to their lives and to the lives of all 22 people who’ve lost the fight against coronavirus, is getting everyone in Hawai‘i to take personal responsibility for their own health and the health of everyone around them.”
Eighty-six additional COVID-19 cases have been recorded since July 10. The cases stem from previous clusters associated with “community-spread.” A total of 44 cases are associated with a training activity at Hawaiian Airlines, in which a person infected during these meetings, is linked to a cluster of 20 cases involving two O‘ahu gyms.
“This clearly shows how easily and quickly this virus can spread from person-to-person and from place-to-place when people are not practicing physical distancing, not wearing masks, not staying home when sick, and possibly not washing their hands frequently and thoroughly,” said State Epidemiologist Sarah Park.
Saturday had the greatest single-day number of reported cases at 42 since DOH began tracking cases in late February.
Other clusters, where community-spread is clearly the cause of additional cases, are pau hana gatherings, businesses, urgent care and long-term care facilities, and household clusters associated with social interactions (birthday parties, Father’s Day, Fourth of July and religious functions).
Health experts urge individuals and the community as a whole to maintain safe practices and encourage others to do so to prevent the continuation of a spike in cases.
“While the majority of Hawai‘i’s residents are using safe practices, clearly there are some who are not, and frankly unless everyone pays attention, we’ll, unfortunately, continue to see illnesses and deaths associated with COVID-19,” Anderson said. “Personal responsibility is the way we’ll again flatten the curve and retain Hawai‘i’s leadership through this unprecedented public health crisis. The upward trend of cases not only impacts people’s health but will likely delay our state’s economic recovery.”