UPDATE: 4:30 p.m.
At least two people, including a 37-year-old Waikiki bartender, are on life support on ventilators in Hawaii hospitals due to the coronavirus.
Six people are in the intensive care unit as the number of new coronavirus cases jumped by 29 from Sunday to 204, the vast majority of them local residents, state health officials said at a news conference today.
Of the 29 new cases, one is a child, while the rest are adults over the age of 18, including a TSA screening officer at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Roughly 60 individuals have been discharged from local hospitals and are now considered recovered.
The virus is now spreading at least in localized areas among residents, though Health Director Bruce Anderson has declined to disclose specifically where the spread of COVID-19 is occurring in the community.
To date, there have been 8,700 lab tests, most of them conducted by private laboratories. State and private labs can now test up to 1,500 people a day, the third-highest rate in the nation, officials said.
State officials warn that if people do not listen to the government’s social distancing requirements, Hawaii could see 8% more cases in two days, 15% more cases four days later and 43% more cases on the sixth day.
“If we are not perfect in our ability to social distance and to stay at home … this is how fast it goes bad for us,” said Lt. Gov Josh Green. “Those 43% more cases represents hundreds of people that will test positive for COVID-19. That is how we lose. That’s how people die in the state of Hawaii.”
He is estimating the peak in the number of coronavirus cases is about three weeks away.
What’s more, the state only has 2,757 total hospital beds, 338 ICU beds and 534 available ventilators.
“If we ignore the … advice to quarantine at home … we outstrip our capacity to care for people,” Green said. “Just 40o or 500 people needing a ventilator will exceed our capacity to keep people alive.”
University of Hawaii researchers are working on ways that ventilators — which help patients in respiratory distress get oxygen — can be split so that four people can use one at the same time, he said. The state, preparing for a surge in demand for medical care, is also considering converting the Hawai‘i Convention Center and Neal S. Blaisdell Center into health care facilities.
“We’re capable of beating this,” Green said. “The best thing you can do in the state of Hawaii as a citizen to save the lives of our kupuna is to please stay at home … through April 30. Only go out when you absolutely need to. (Then) we will be able to get out of this alive.”
Hawaii Department of Health officials said today that the state’s tally of coronavirus cases has risen to 204, up 29 from Sunday.
Of all the confirmed cases in Hawaii since the start of the outbreak, 12 have required hospitalizations, unchanged from Sunday, state health officials said today.
Today’s statewide total includes 139 cases on Oahu, 25 in Maui County, 15 on Hawaii island, and 12 in Kauai County, according to health officials. Of those county cases, a total of 19 were non-residents of Hawaii: six on Oahu, five in Kauai County, four each in Maui County and on the Big Island. No cases have been reported on Lanai and Molokai.
The statewide total also includes two Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.
Eleven cases in the statewide total are pending identification of county.
In all, state officials today reported 16 new cases on Oahu, five in Maui County, three on Hawaii island, and no new cases in Kauai County.
Of today’s total of 204 statewide cases, 55 people are considered recovered, six more recoveries since Sunday, health officials said.
There have no reported deaths in Hawaii.