Hawaii reports 27th coronavirus fatality, another triple-digit jump in COVID-19 infections

Hospitalizations surge as state continues to battle coronavirus testing backlog

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii reported its 27th coronavirus-related fatality on Tuesday as it also grappled with a worsening surge of new COVID-19 cases.

Authorities said the patient ― who died July 29 ― was a Honolulu man in the 40- to 59-year-old age group and had underlying health conditions.

His death was reported to the state Health Department by the Honolulu Medical Examiner.

“We all extend our condolences to the family and friends of this man,” said state Health Department Director Bruce Anderson, in a news release.

“Every death reminds us how very serious this disease is. Coronavirus can strike down anyone of any age. We can all protect each other and prevent more hospitalizations and deaths.”

Also Tuesday, the state reported another high day for new coronavirus infections.

CORONAVIRUS HEADLINES:

There were 144 recorded statewide, with 139 on Oahu and five on the Big Island.

The confirmed cases were out of 1,814 tests conducted, meaning the positivity rate was 7.9%.

The state said the vast majority of new cases in the islands are the result of community spread. Examples of recent clusters include:

  • 71 cases linked to a series of funeral events
  • Six cases linked to a hot yoga class
  • 12 cases associated with a birthday party

State officials said the alarming increase in COVID-19 infections on Oahu is proof that people are putting their guards down ― gathering in groups and failing to wear a mask.

On Oahu, restrictions aimed at tamping down the virus are already be reintroduced. Bars have been temporarily closed and gatherings of 10 or more people aren’t allowed.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said there are now 138 people hospitalized in Hawaii with COVID-19.

Health officials fear the number will only continue to rise.

It typically takes about 10 days for someone to get sick enough to need hospitalization. That means hospitals could see a big increase in COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks.

Hawaii Pacific Health CEO Ray Vara says their testing locations are now seeing several hundred people a day as the virus spreads in the community.

“The slope of the curve currently is beginning to alarm us,” he said.

“If we continue to see that without some form of reasonable intervention ... if we continue to see that trend over the next 10 days, we’re going to begin to see the health system stressed.”

Vara added that the demographics of Hawaii’s COVID-19 patients are trending younger than they were in March and April. That may be why fewer of those in the hospital are needing intensive care.

There were 207 new COVID-19 cases reported statewide on Monday. While many of those cases were from a testing backlog, the governor called it “an alarming number that we need to pay attention to.”

As of Tuesday, there are 1,210 active coronavirus cases in Hawaii, 1,144 of which are on Oahu.

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

OAHU

  • Total cases: 2,221
  • Released from isolation: 1,057
  • Required hospitalization: 175
  • Deaths: 20

MAUI COUNTY

  • Total cases: 178 (includes 2 on Molokai)
  • Released from isolation: 138
  • Required hospitalization: 26
  • Deaths: 6

KAUAI

  • Total cases: 47
  • Released from isolation: 44
  • Required hospitalization: 1
  • Deaths: 0

BIG ISLAND

  • Total cases: 122
  • Released from isolation: 115
  • Required hospitalization: 4
  • Deaths: 0

UNASSIGNED

  • Hawaii residents diagnosed out-of-state: 23
  • Hawaii residents who have died out-of-state: 1
  • Pending assignment to county: 0

This story will be updated.

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