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Hawaii logs 452 new COVID cases; Lt. Gov. Green says positivity rate now at 5.7%

Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 11:17 AM HST|Updated: Aug. 1, 2021 at 12:09 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sunday marked yet another day of sky-high COVID cases as Hawaii reported 452 new infections.

Of the cases reported Sunday:

  • 276 were on Oahu
  • 99 on Hawaii Island
  • Six on Kauai
  • 66 on Maui
  • five diagnose out of state

Lt. Gov. Josh Green added that the state’s positivity rate now sits at 5.7%.

There were no additional fatalities reported Sunday as Hawaii’s COVID death toll remains at 537. Over the last 14 days, there have been 3,298 new infections.

Sunday is the second consecutive day with cases in the 400s as Saturday brought on 485 new cases, which was the highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

On Friday, 622 cases were logged, however that number was due in part to a catch-up of a lab reporting delay, which has been fully resolved. According to DOH Spokesperson Brooks Baehr, all the cases reported Saturday were from a 24-hour period which ended at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

Green called Saturday’s case count “heart wrenching.” He added that if cases continue to rise, mayors and the governor may reinstate COVID restrictions.

“The reality is we are seeing the surge from the Delta variant, we will see more people get COVID and we’ll see more people in the hospital,” Green said.

Some of these restrictions are already being put back in place in Hilo Medical Center — Hawaii Island’s largest hospital. Officials announced Saturday they are returning to a strict “no visitor policy” for their Emergency Department until further notice.

Overnight, the hospital said COVID hospitalizations doubled from six to 12 patients infected with the virus. Hilo Medical Center said all of their COVID patients are unvaccinated, but so far none of them are in the ICU.

“We have 11 ICU beds and we have 28 exam rooms in our emergency department,” said Elena Cabatu, director of Marketing and Public and Legislative Affairs at Hilo Medical Center.

“Our hospital is very near to capacity and our staff is working very hard, many are working over time to keep up with the influx of patients. This is when, when it’s getting real for us, for our community.”

Furthermore, with public schools back in the classroom in just three days, Green said it’s time to have some serious conversations.

“I don’t think we should sugar coat this. With school starting on Tuesday, I think we should have some emergency discussions,” he said. “I know that the governor and the team will do emergency discussions to assess where we’re going to be this week.”

The lieutenant governor said he is concerned that young school children, under 12 who are ineligible to get the vaccine, could contract the virus and bring it home to family members who refuse to get their shot.

He fears this could potentially overload state hospitals.

“If we were to have 500 cases a day if that were to happen, which would be 15,000 cases a month. That would be very problematic, that would be over 1,000 hospitalizations each month, and that’s probably more than we can handle. "

While there are no indications that any of the state’s four counties are brining back more restrictive COVID mandates from the past, the messaging from most elected leaders and those on the frontlines is clear: get vaccinated.

“We have to get these numbers down. The way we get them down is to vaccinate, wear masks and socially distance,” Green said.

Similarly, Cabatu said, “We just really need the community to do their part and join us in getting vaccinated so we can protect everyone else around us.”

The state does not provide details on how many cases were in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated individuals.

[Looking for a COVID vaccine? For details on where to go for the free shot, click here.]

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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