Ige expresses concern about pockets of COVID cases among unvaccinated

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Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 4:50 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 30, 2021 at 4:43 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s COVID cases have been relatively stable over the last three weeks, averaging about 40 a day.

And that, Gov. David Ige says, is worrisome.

He says new cases are overwhelmingly among those who aren’t vaccinated. “People who chose not to get vaccinated tend to associate with each other. We are definitely concerned if there’s an organization, a church or something that has a high percentage of their membership that’s not vaccinated,” he said.

In a one-on-one interview with Hawaii News Now on Tuesday, Ige said he also worried about the so-called Delta variant, a more transmissible mutation of COVID.

Despite his concerns and the prospect of July Fourth gatherings, the governor did say the state is still going to ease restrictions on July 8 as Hawaii approaches the 60% vaccination target.

After the state reaches 70%, all restrictions end.

Despite the high bar, Ige thinks it’s still reachable in two months.

“The difficulty at this point is how quickly the fall off of doses administered will be that’s why it’s difficult for them to project out exactly to cross that 70% threshold,” he said.

While the COVID-fatigued and some in the business community are pushing back against restrictions, Ige still insists on a methodical reopening.

“I suppose I could say let’s drop everything and see what happens and then if we do have an outbreak let’s clamp down. I don’t think that’s productive,” said Ige.

He points out other states were forced to clamp down after completely opening up. Los Angeles County is now advising residents to wear masks indoors.

“Texas and California dropped all of their restrictions, the variant shows up and now they are talking about re-instituting,” said Ige.

The governor added that White House data shows of those unvaccinated, two-thirds still believe in myths such as the vaccines don’t protect you or can even give you the virus.

Health officials say the vaccinations do offer powerful protection, including against the Delta variant.

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