Most COVID-19 patients recover at home, but hospitalizations higher among seniors

Updated: Jul. 1, 2020 at 10:54 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Despite recent upticks in COVID-19 cases, state officials say Hawaii’s hospitals are in good shape because the majority of the state’s coronavirus patients have been able to recover at home.

“The hospitals really haven’t flinched at all with the numbers we’ve had,” Lt. Gov. Josh Green said.

Since the start of the pandemic, 917 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in Hawaii and 110 of those patients have needed hospitalization, Green said.

That’s a little more than 10%.

Hospitalization rates, however, are higher ― at about 33% ― among those 60 and over.

Six residents of the Hale Nani Rehabilitation and Nursing Center have required hospitalization after outbreak infected 17 people.

Dr. Scott Miscovich, who headed up a mass testing effort at Hale Nani, said two residents of the nursing home hospitalized earlier this month have been released.

Green said throughout the pandemic, resources at local hospitals have remained steady.

Statewide, there are 244 intensive care beds. As of Tuesday, 48% were occupied, mostly by non-COVID patients. Meanwhile, 10% of the state’s 459 ventilators are in use.

Green says Hawaii also has about a five-month supply of personal protective equipment on hand for its healthcare workers, and has set aside $100 million in federal stimulus funds for more PPE.

He added many of the new COVID-19 cases are a result of community spread and have been discovered through contact tracing.

“Well over half of the cases have been directly connected to other positives,” he said. “So the process of contact tracing which has ramped up a lot is quickly catching other positive cases.”

With the majority of new cases popping up on Oahu and the holiday weekend approaching, Mayor Kirk Caldwell called it a critical time to heed the warnings of public health officials.

“My biggest concern is that folks may be letting their guard down and assuming the worst is over,” said Caldwell. “The costs that we have gone through on Oahu and the billions upon billions of dollars that have been lost. We can’t do it afford to do it a second time.”

Caldwell went on to say if the number of new cases gets too high on Oahu, businesses he referred to as “risky” may be required to shut down again.

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