The Hawai‘i Department of Health reports its third consecutive day of record COVID-19 cases at 73.
As Tropical Cyclone Douglas approaches, 625 people across the state are currently in isolation or quarantine due to exposure to someone or being positive for the coronavirus. DOH has confirmed these individuals will shelter-in-place. With record new cases today, it’s expected the number of people in isolation or quarantine will rise by the end of the day.
Officials report the majority of cases are on Oahu at 68 and five are on Maui.
“Thursday’s, Friday’s, and today’s numbers demonstrate the relaxation of safe practices from the 4th of July, particularly on O‘ahu, may have been one primary reason for these daily new records,” stated DOH Director Bruce Anderson. “We’re beginning to see more cases among younger to middle-aged adults; many who relay stories of attending gatherings, parties, events, or socializing at bars.”
State Epidemiologist Sarah Park said multiple household clusters and other clusters are associated with social interactions like 4th of July gatherings, birthday parties, televised sports events, religious functions, work meetings, and funeral events.
“Our investigations and contact tracing show in many of these settings people have relaxed their physical distancing and use of facial coverings,” Park said.
While the percent of positive coronavirus in the state seems to be stable, the curve is very gradually increasing because of the positivity rate in Honolulu.
“This means the rate of new cases, particularly on O‘ahu, is greater than the rate of increased testing that is occurring,” Park explained.
However, due to the approaching storm, the DOH State Laboratories Division will not be conducting COVID-19 testing on Sunday. Testing is expected to resume late Monday or on Tuesday. The DOH State Laboratories Division has been testing specimens for one of the clinical labs because of a reagent supply shortage. The State Laboratories Division also regularly tests specimens from investigations and sentinel surveillance.
“There are already calls for re-instituting restrictions and given this concerning trend,” Anderson said. “We are closely monitoring the situation, evaluating exposure risks, and currently in discussions on going back to previous restrictions on activities.”