‘The pandemic is not over’: Ige urges vaccinations and vigilance after state reports 622 cases, 3 deaths
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Health Department reported 622 COVID infections on Friday, a startling count that is at least partly blamed on lab reporting delays earlier this week but also represents a continued surge in new coronavirus cases in the islands.
“That’s the highest number we’ve ever seen,” said Gov. David Ige, speaking at a news conference on Friday afternoon. He added that even when you take the reporting lags into account, the daily average over the last three days is more than 300. Meanwhile, the seven-day average stands at 230.
“That is an alarming number of cases. The pandemic is not over,” Ige said.
He added: “If you haven’t been vaccinated, please do so.”
The governor also warned that if the case count can’t be reined in, he might have to reinstate restrictions. He urged residents to do everything in their power to slow the spread, including forgoing outings or steering clear of gatherings, but added that right now hospitals are able to handle the surge.
“We have ample capacity at this time,” he said. “But if we can’t stop the cases, then at some point I will have to reenact restrictions to slow the spread.”
There were also three more fatalities reported Friday, bringing the death toll to 537. Two of the deaths were men on Oahu: One was in his 50s and the other in his 60s. The third was a Maui man in his 60s.
Of the cases reported Friday:
- 359 were on Oahu
- 111 were on Hawaii Island
- 74 on Maui
- and eight on Kauai
In addition, there were 70 residents diagnosed out-of-state.
State Health Director Dr. Libby Char said the state is seeing “widespread community transmission.” “We are very, very concerned about it,” she said, adding that 25% of Friday’s cases are children.
Meanwhile, state data shows Oahu and Hawaii Island are leading the way for new infections.
Communities in West, Central and East Oahu have all reported more than 100 cases in the past two weeks. And on the Big Island, Kailua-Kona and Hilo have each added 130 cases over the past 14 days.
The new cases push the total number of infections reported over the last 14 days to 2,653.
The number of confirmed infections since the start of the pandemic now stands at 41,925. The state does not provide details on how many cases were in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated individuals.
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The surge, which is also being seen nationally, comes amid growing concern about the delta variant.
The vast majority of confirmed cases are unvaccinated people, but Char noted that so-called “breakthrough cases” are increasing ― because the virus is spreading more widely and because more people are vaccinated. New research also finds vaccinated people can carry as much virus as unvaccinated people with the delta variant, a worrisome development.
With other variants, vaccinated people were far less likely to spread the virus.
Additionally, the new CDC research found that the delta variant was as infectious as chickenpox.
Some 60% of the state is now fully vaccinated against COVID, while 66.7% have at least one shot.
And Health Department officials stressed that while a vaccinated person can still contract COVID, they are far less likely to develop severe symptoms and require hospitalization.
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:
This story will be updated.
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