DOH: It’s ‘reasonable’ to conclude Omicron is circulating statewide

-- Hawaii reported 395 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths.
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 1:26 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2021 at 1:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state has now confirmed 31 cases of the Omicron mutation in the islands, but officials said there are likely many more that have escaped detection.

And while the confirmed cases are all on Oahu, the Health Department said Friday it’s “reasonable” to conclude that the highly transmissible variant is circulating statewide.

The news comes amid a worrisome surge in new COVID infections.

There were 797 new COVID cases reported statewide Friday, the highest single-day case count in the islands since Sept. 11. And the 14-day average for new infection is now 297.

That’s up 200% from the beginning of the month.

State Health Director Dr. Libby Char said the most important precaution people can take now is getting vaccinated. Those who are fully vaccinated, meanwhile, should get a booster shot.

Residents are also being urged to wear masks indoors and avoid large gatherings. But for now at least, there won’t be any new restrictions on gatherings or other activities.

Scientists say Omicron is much more contagious than even the Delta variant. But early studies also show it might be more likely to cause mild disease.

Char pointed out, however, that a less virulent Omicron does not mean Hawaii is in the clear. That’s because if many more people get the virus, hospitals could still fill up.

For details on vaccinations and booster, click here.

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