State: 80% of COVID cases in Hawaii are now highly transmissible delta variant

FILE(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 2:48 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 4, 2021 at 3:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The highly transmissible delta variant now makes up roughly 80% of all COVID cases in the islands, according to a new report from the state Health Department.

In mid-July, the state had estimated more than half of COVID cases in Hawaii were the mutation.

The delta variant is largely blamed for a surge in COVID cases nationally and locally. The vast majority of those catching the virus are unvaccinated, but rare so-called “breakthrough” cases do occur.

The delta variant, first detected in India, is much more contagious than previous mutations of the virus. In fact, the CDC believes it’s as infectious as chickenpox.

There’s also evidence to show the delta variant is more likely to cause severe symptoms ― again, largely in unvaccinated people.

The state Health Department said the delta variant is present in all four major counties.

Hawaii County has the highest percentage of the variant, at 85%. On Oahu, 84% of all cases are the delta variant. On Maui County, the percentage is 70% while its 60% on Kauai.

The State Lab also detected a specific version of the delta variant, called “Delta+K417N” or “Delta Plus,” which contains an additional mutation that could make it even more transmissible.

This story will be updated.

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