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Majority of Hawaii’s COVID cases are highly contagious ‘stealth’ Omicron

Health officials say "stealth Omicron," officially known as the BA.2 subvariant, is 30% more transmissible than the original.
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 6:20 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 14, 2022 at 6:54 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some 70% of Hawaii COVID cases are now the highly contagious subvariant known as “stealth” Omicron.

That’s according to the state’s latest variant report and is up from 42% two weeks ago.

According to health officials, stealth Omicron is 30% more transmissible than the original and could be to blame for a slight uptick in cases that the Department of Health is watching closely.

“‘Stealth’ will probably go where no virus has gone before,” said Maui District Health Officer Dr. Lorrin Pang. “‘Stealth’ will go where normally people were protected, and you are beginning to see this … Nancy Pelosi, Rick Blangiardi” — both of whom recently tested positive for COVID>

Brooks Baehr, spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Health, said the agency isn’t “overly concerned” stealth Omicron’s rise in Hawaii.

“But we are somewhat concerned that we’re seeing a gradual upward trend, and this has now continued for the past month or so,” he said.

DOH reported 1,327 new COVID cases and eight deaths in the last week.

Health Department officials said three weeks ago, Hawaii was averaging about 87 cases a day and the positivity rate was about 3%.

Now the state is seeing about 164 cases a day and a positivity rate of almost 5% — and that doesn’t include all the tests people are taking at home.

“We know there’s a lot more COVID in the community because a lot of people are taking those home tests now, and we’re glad they are. But those home tests are not reported into our state data,” Baehr said.

Health officials are urging all eligible residents to get a second booster shot.

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