HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - So far this this month, Hawaii has seen nearly 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 — an alarming surge that healthcare facilities are now struggling to keep up with.
With new infections continuing to rapidly rise, five Oahu hospitals were at or near full capacity Friday, according to Healthcare Association of Hawaii President and CEO Hilton Raethel.
And for the first time, some healthcare facilities on the Neighbor Islands are also seeing an alarming surge.
“There’s not a huge number of hospitals on Oahu,” Raethel said. “So when we have three, four, five that are essentially at full capacity or just have the ability to accept one or two patients, that’s really problematic.”
Friday marked the 19th consecutive day that Hawaii saw new COVID-19 infections in the triple digits.
The day also saw a record high for coronavirus hospitalizations statewide, with 227. Forty-four of those patients are in intensive care and 23 are on ventilators.
An uptick of cases on Maui is also putting a strain on that island’s largest hospital, Maui Memorial. The facility has a cluster with 25 hospital patients and 21 healthcare workers.
Healthcare experts say many facilities still have the ability to surge, adding beds that are not currently available. The problem is there’s not enough providers, especially nurses.
“We have a number of issues with staffing. That is our biggest challenge right now,” Raethel said.
“It’s not the physical space. It’s not the actual beds.”
He said reinforcements from the mainland could start arriving as early as next week. But securing them has been a challenge because of the high demand nationwide.
Raethel added even the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation on Kauai is experiencing a small surge. Hilo Medical Center is also treating patients connected to a small outbreak there.