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Maui’s positivity rate soars as hospital lacks room for new patients

Victorino says restrictions could resume depending on hospital capacity.
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 6:33 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2022 at 8:13 AM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state reported a new record high of 6,252 coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

Every county is seeing a spike in daily cases, with the neighbor islands faring worse than Oahu.

Meanwhile, hundreds of mainland reinforcement nurses have arrived in the state. Maui County’s mayor says they landed just in time.

“We’ve got the FEMA nurses in, and I think that’s going to be a big help more on the way. So, I’m excited with that news. And really, to help give some respite to our hard-working frontline workers at the hospital,” said Mayor Michael Victorino.

Victorino said restrictions could resume depending on hospital capacity.

Currently, there are 41 patients are now hospitalized on Maui with COVID. Hospital officials say it is the most since the delta surge in August. Three COVID patients are in the Intensive Care Unit and one COVID patient is on a ventilator.

A month ago, the hospital was caring for only four COVID infections.

“The hospital is now full,” said Maui Health System CEO Michael Rembis. “We have patients sometimes waiting in the emergency room overnight for a bed in the morning. So, we’re very full.”

Hospital officials say Maui County’s positivity rate is the highest in the state, at 22.5%.

Rembis said they are creating room for more acute cases.

“We may create some additional beds in our ambulatory surgery area and other areas of the hospital where we can safely care for patients while they’re waiting for an acute care bed,” Rembis said. “If we need to expand our triage in the emergency room, we’re ready and able to do so.”

According to the Hawaii Health Department, Maui had the sharpest increase in its seven-day average cases over the past two weeks – a 127% jump. That’s followed by Kauai with a 113% increase, then Hawaii County with a 77% hike.

Kauai and Hawaii Island both saw record-breaking case counts Tuesday. There were 547 cases on Kauai and 834 cases on Hawaii Island.

“Forty-four percent of the total cases reported since the beginning of the pandemic have occurred in the last 28 days,” said Hawaii County Director of Communications Cyrus Johnasen. “That’s almost half of all cases have occurred in less than a month period.”

Despite the soaring cases, Johnasen said they don’t have any plans to reinstate additional restrictions.

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