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DOH: 2 COVID clusters at schools on Kauai, Maui led to roughly 70 infections

COVID testing/FILE
COVID testing/FILE(Audrey McAvoy | AP)
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 6:01 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 6:06 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In its latest cluster report, the state Department of Health said it investigated two COVID outbreaks at educational settings on Kauai and Maui.

The Health Department said 45 infections stemmed from an unnamed independent school on Kauai in August. Officials said the school was not strictly following mask mandates.

DOH said 27 students and teachers tested positive for the virus, which then led to the infection of 18 close contacts.

Following the outbreak, the school paused in-person learning as the virus spread among several grade levels. Officials said during the closure, the school worked to improve its COVID safety protocols by implementing mitigation strategies.

The other COVID outbreak was reported at a Maui public elementary school, which led to 26 infections. But only three of those cases were linked to exposure at the school.

Health investigators said 23 of those who tested positive for the virus were infected by a household member who was primarily exposed to COVID during summer camps, at work or at places of worship.

DOH said because the student population at the school is younger than 12 years old, students are not eligible for the vaccine, leaving them vulnerable to the virus.

Furthermore, the school reported that only 60% of its staff are vaccinated.

Officials said two people who were infected attended school despite having COVID symptoms.

As schools continue to see a growing number of cases, the state urges students and staff to stay home when they feel sick and get tested.

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