Hawaii reports 655 new COVID infections, in highest single-day total since pandemic began

When vaccinations slowed down, Pastor Kevin Kondo said it was time to step up their efforts.
When vaccinations slowed down, Pastor Kevin Kondo said it was time to step up their efforts.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 10:13 AM HST|Updated: Aug. 5, 2021 at 3:30 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii reported 655 new COVID infections Thursday, in the highest single-day total since the pandemic began.

The second-highest total reported for a single day was 452 ― and that was reached on Sunday.

The record one-day high comes amid an alarming surge in infections blamed primarily on the highly contagious delta variant.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said the vast majority of cases continue to be among the unvaccinated.

And he was blunt in his message to those who still haven’t gotten the shot.

“You’re out of your heads if you don’t get vaccinated. It’s a big mistake,” he said. “I know we have different ideologies about that but do not listen to people who make stuff up about what the vaccine is going to do to you. All it’s (the vaccine) going to do is prevent you from catching COVID.”

As of Thursday, 60.5%. of the state is fully vaccinated.

Roughly 211,000 kids in Hawaii are too young to get the vaccine, Green said, which leaves about a quarter million Hawaii residents who are eligible to get the shot but haven’t yet done so.

“That’s where the virus is spreading,” he said.

“As it spreads, hospitalizations are rising. It affects us all because then we can’t do elective procedures. We can’t have extra beds for people who have heart attacks. It’s a really serious matter.”

Green said 166 people now are hospitalized statewide with COVID.

Of the new cases Thursday:

  • 428 were on Oahu
  • 131 were on Hawaii Island
  • 69 on Maui
  • Seven on Kauai

There were also 20 residents diagnosed out-of-state.

Meanwhile, there were no additional fatalities reported. The death toll from the virus stands at 538.

Since the pandemic began, Hawaii has recorded 44,617 COVID cases.

In the last 14 days, the state confirmed 4,391 new infections. At the same time, the seven-day average for cases has also soared: From 268 on July 29 to 436 on Thursday. The positivity rate is now at 7%.

That means 7% of all those getting tested for COVID are coming back positive.

On Hawaii Island, the figure is 8.3%.

Hilton Raethel, head of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, said about 90% of those hospitalized with COVID in the islands are not vaccinated. He added that rising case totals ― combined with growing positivity rates ― are poised to push up hospitalization rates statewide in the coming weeks.

Already, hospitals are feeling the strain of rising hospitalizations and have requested more than 500 relief medical workers from the mainland as part of a federally-funded FEMA program.

The skyrocketing number of COVID infections in Hawaii is prompting a wave of vaccine requirements, and the governor is expected to announce mandates for state and county workers Thursday.

Hawaii’s major hospitals have already announced mandates of their own. And on Wednesday, Hawaii’s public schools announced that student-athletes would need to be vaccinated in order to play.

This story will be updated.

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