Omicron Variant Suspected on Reaching Neighbor Islands
The Hawai‘i Department of Health said on Monday evening it has detected additional COVID-19 cases of the Omicron variant bringing the statewide total of Omicron cases to 50. Forty-nine of the 50 cases are on O‘ahu. The source and location of the remaining case is still being investigated.
It is reasonable to believe Omicron may be present on the neighbor islands, the department said.
Early research shows the Omicron variant spreads more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus.
More data are needed to determine whether Omicron infections cause more severe illness than other variants.
COVID-19 vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. The emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters. However, more breakthrough cases in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur.
DOH strongly encourages COVID-19 booster shots for everyone eligible.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, even mild symptoms, is asked to stay home from work, school and other activities. They should avoid other people and get tested.
Anyone who is a close contact of a known COVID-19 positive individual should get tested regardless of vaccination status.
DOH advises people to administer home tests before and after travel and before attending gatherings or large events. Home tests are available for purchase at local pharmacies.
Information on free testing and vaccines is available at www.hawaiicovid19.com.