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Hawaii’s COVID hospitalizations on verge of hitting all-time high

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 4:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - On Thursday morning, a medical triage tent went up outside Queen’s Medical Center Punchbowl. Statewide, it’s the third one to be erected in less than a week.

Meanwhile, Hawaii is on the verge of surpassing a frightening milestone. Health officials confirm there are 282 people currently hospitalized with COVID across the state. Just nine short of the all-time high.

“At our peak last year we had 291 patients in our hospitals. We’re going to pass that tomorrow,” said Hilton Raethel.

The head of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii says 25 had gotten their coronavirus shots.

“So that means 91 percent of the COVID patients in our hospitals today are unvaccinated,” Raethel said.

The rapid uptick in hospitalizations coincides with the surge of new infections.

On Thursday, Hawaii added 546 new cases. But that number along with some other daily case counts released this week don’t tell the whole story.

A statement released Wednesday by the the Department of Health reads:

“The electronic laboratory reporting system was interrupted for approximately 20 hours on Monday, August 10 and Tuesday, August 11. As a result of this interruption, there is a delay in the reporting of an unknown number of cases.”

On Thursday, officials still didn’t know how many infections haven’t been reported. It’s the second data lag this month.

Hawaii News Now spoke with the company that’s responsible for the transfer of information to ask what went wrong.

“We don’t want to report something that is negative when it’s positive or vice versa,” said Francis Chan.

The head of Hawaii Health Information Exchange explained the delay was due to a computer glitch where the information being sent to the Department of Health wasn’t the information being received.

Data specialists had to be called in to fix the problem.

“We all think a computer is press a button. But when things like that happen it takes a real expert to look deep into it,” Chan said.

Raethel is concerned this week’s lower numbers could lead people to assume Hawaii is passed the peak of the pandemic.

He said, “We do not know what the actual infection rate numbers are because of this glitch.”

Chan says this week’s computer glitch was fixed on Wednesday. Officials from the Department of Health say they expect to be caught up on the backlog by Friday.

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