Hawaii reports 243 new COVID cases, 3 additional fatalities; vaccination rate at 59.5%

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 11:52 AM HST|Updated: Jul. 22, 2021 at 4:18 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii saw 243 new COVID cases Thursday ― the highest single-day rise in infections since Jan. 5 in what officials called a sobering “wake-up call” for the unvaccinated.

There were also three additional fatalities reported, including Hawaii’s second in a resident who was fully vaccinated but, according to state health officials, had “multiple underlying health conditions.”

The increase in new infections comes after a week of triple-digit increases in cases and amid growing concern locally and nationally about the rapid spread of the highly transmissible delta variant.

The mutation now makes up a majority of cases being seen in the islands.

“We do indeed have sobering news on every front today,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, Kauai’s district health officer. “The disease is not contained to a particular type of setting or geographic area.”

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One of the new deaths was in a fully vaccinated Oahu woman in her 60s with underlying health conditions, officials said. Additional details on those conditions were not released.

It’s the second COVID death in Hawaii of a vaccinated resident.

The two other deaths reported Thursday ― a man on Oahu in his 50s and a Maui man in his 60s ― were unvaccinated.

All three patients who died were hospitalized, and bring the COVID death toll in Hawaii to 527.

In another worrisome trend, officials said 66 of the 243 new cases Thursday ― or 27% ― are 18 or younger. It was not known how many were under 12 and therefore cannot be vaccinated.

Health Department spokesman Brooks Baehr said the surge in cases “should a wake-up call.”

“The delta variant has become the dominant strain in the state. It’s really time to go in and get vaccinated and be part of the solution,” he said, during a Zoom call with reporters.

Gov. David Ige had a similar message Thursday.

“If you haven’t already, please get vaccinated,” he wrote, on Twitter. “We know it’s one of the safest ways to protect you and your family. And as always, please continue to wear masks indoors.”

As of Thursday, 59.5% of Hawaii’s population is now fully vaccinated while 66% have gotten at least one dose of a two-dose vaccine.

In a post on social media, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said about 78% of all cases in July are from community spread while roughly 20% were in residents returning from travel.

About 2% are linked to non-resident travel, he said.

Of the new cases Thursday, 146 were on Oahu, 50 in Hawaii County, 14 on Maui and eight on Kauai. There were also 25 residents diagnosed out-of-state.

The total number of cases in Hawaii since the start of the pandemic now stands at 39,892.

Over the last 14 days, the state Health Department said there have been 1,483 new cases statewide.

Here’s daily reporting chart provided by the state Health Department:

Below is the latest information provided by the DOH on Hawaii’s vaccination status:

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