Officials blame an uptick in COVID-19 cases on ‘Memorial Day bump’

Officials blame an uptick in COVID-19 cases on ‘Memorial Day bump’
FILE - In this March 3, 2020, file photo, Hawaii state Department of Health microbiologist Mark Nagata demonstrates the process for testing a sample for coronavirus at the department's laboratory in Pearl City, Hawaii. (Source: Audrey McAvoy)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Public health officials are watching a slight uptick in new coronavirus cases closely, but say the numbers are still not a significant concern.

On Thursday, the state reported seven new COVID-19 cases, all on Oahu. Over the last seven days, Hawaii’s total case count for coronavirus cases has grown by 38 to 692.

That comes after several weeks when Hawaii was seeing one or even no new cases daily.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green addressed the uptick on Thursday in a video on his Facebook page.

“Why do we have 7 cases?" he said. "We still have a Memorial Day bump and then people were protesting ― peacefully, but they were together, so we’re gonna see those numbers be up a little bit. These are people who have been in contact with asymptomatic individuals, very likely.”

He added that surges in COVID-19 cases in a number of states on the mainland, including Arizona, California and Texas, is very concerning and underscores the continued need for a traveler quarantine.

“When we open up to travel from the mainland, we have to be very mindful that we can’t see positive cases coming to our state,” he said. “We’ll have testing in advance.”

Green and other public health officials have said that Hawaii could handle about 30 new coronavirus cases daily once tourism reopens, but anything more than that would be a major tax on the system.

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