18 new COVID-19 cases reported on Oahu in what state calls ‘expected’ spike as economy reopens

18 new COVID-19 cases reported on Oahu in what state calls ‘expected’ spike as economy reopens
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) - The state is reporting 18 new COVID-19 cases Thursday on Oahu, in the biggest single-day jump in two months.

The spike comes after several days of smaller gains, but as public health officials continue to track clusters in Central Oahu, Honolulu and at a skilled nursing facility in Makiki.

The new cases bring to 762 the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 since March 1. Of those, at least 640 have been released from isolation after recovering.

The state Health Department said Thursday that the increase was “expected” as the economy continues to reopen.

On Friday, several higher-risk businesses on Oahu ― including bars, movie theaters and gyms ― will be allowed to welcome customers back.

“This spike in cases and other recent daily spikes have been expected as people begin to move around more freely and more businesses are reopening,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist, in a news release.

“It’s important to point out, that the vast majority of the cases we’re seeing in the state are being spread by what we call community-associated infection. Only a handful of recent cases have been detected in travelers, known as travel-associated infection.”

Park urged residents to wear masks and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.

Here’s the latest:

  • Of the 18 new cases on Oahu, 17 are adults and one is a minor.
  • Fifteen of the new cases, meanwhile, are in Hawaii residents while the residency of the other three is still under investigation.
  • Several are connected with the Hale Nani Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, but not all of the new cases connected to the facility are included in the total.
  • So far, more than 65,000 people in the islands have been tested for COVID-19.
  • Some 95 people statewide have required hospitalization, and the death toll from the virus in Hawaii stands at 17.

[Find continuing coverage of the pandemic in our special section: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC]

Here’s the latest county-by-county breakdown of confirmed positives:

OAHU

  • Total cases: 526
  • Released from isolation: 426
  • Required hospitalization: 69
  • Deaths: 11

MAUI COUNTY

  • Total cases: 120 (includes 2 on Molokai)
  • Released from isolation: 113
  • Required hospitalization: 22
  • Deaths: 6

KAUAI

  • Total cases: 21
  • Released from isolation: 20
  • Required hospitalization: 1
  • Deaths: 0

BIG ISLAND

  • Total cases: 83
  • Released from isolation: 81
  • Required hospitalization: 2
  • Deaths: 0

UNASSIGNED

  • Hawaii residents diagnosed out-of-state: 12
  • Pending assignment to county: 0

Note: “Released from isolation” means it’s been three days since a patient has exhibited symptoms or seven since they first got sick, whichever is longest.

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