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2nd Hawaii resident dies as statewide coronavirus cases continue to mount

UPDATE: 5:10 p.m.

An Oahu woman who was hospitalized after contracting the coronavirus died last night, state health officials said.

Gov. David Ige announced the second coronavirus-related death in Hawaii this afternoon.

“Today, our community received the tragic news of the passing of a second Hawaii resident from the COVID-19 virus. Dawn and I express our deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends,” Ige said in a news release announcing the death.

“As we come together with expressions of sympathy and support – we must also remember to help each other, to protect your health and the health of loved ones and your community. Let’s all do our part to get Hawaii through this challenging time.”

Health officials are still investigating the death and said they would not be releasing further details at this time. Initially, health officials said the patient was an adult male but later retracted that statement.

Hawaii Department of Health officials later confirmed the second fatality was a woman. Hawaii health director Bruce Anderson told KHON that the woman was admitted to Queen’s West Oahu and later transfered to Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, where she died.

The news of the second death came about an hour after the state Department of Health reported that the statewide total of COVID-19 cases has risen to 285, up 27 from Wednesday, which saw a record increase in coronavirus cases of 34.

State officials acknowledged that more records likely are on the way despite travel restrictions and other measures implemented to stem the tide of the disease.

“We’re seeing cases telescope based on tests that are coming in from a few days,” Lt. Josh Green said in an online post on Instagram.

In addition, the state is monitoring daily the hospital-bed capacity and supply of medical equipment such as ventilators.

He added that there are 97, or 18%, of 535 ventilators in use, and 121 of 338 beds filled in the intensive care unit. As of today, a total of 1,552 beds of 2,757 statewide, a rate of 56%, are also filled.

“That’s fewer people in critical condition in the state of Hawaii this morning. So a little less ICU beds and a little bit more occupancy in our hospitals. Things are holding from a health standpoint. We have not yet seen the surge,” Green said. “The curve could be flattening some so I want people to be reassured.”

In anticipation of a surge, the state is preparing to increase the number of ICU beds and looking for places to expand capacity, including repurposing the Hawai’i Convention Center and Neal S. Blaisdell Center. It is also looking at ways to protect the homeless population and prisoners “to keep people from spreading disease to the greater society.”

Right now the state is tracking lower than the anticipated “tragic line,” he said.

“Good work everybody. Please still shelter in place, stay at home and wear masks out there if you’re in a line of any kind,” he said. “Really, really lay low until April 30.”

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

Hawaii Department of Health officials said today that the state’s tally of coronavirus cases has risen to 285, up 27 from Wednesday.

Most of the new Hawaii cases today are on Oahu.

Of all the confirmed cases in Hawaii since the start of the outbreak, 15 have required hospitalizations, state health officials said today, with no new hospitalizations reported today. Fourteen of the hospitalization cases are on Oahu and one is on Kauai.

There has been one death from the coronavirus in the state since the start of the outbreak, an Oahu “older” man who died Monday night.

Today’s statewide total includes 206 cases on Oahu, 27 in Maui County, 18 on Hawaii island, and 12 in Kauai County, according to health officials. In all, state officials today reported 24 new cases on Oahu, one on Maui, and no new cases on Hawaii island or Kauai County.

Twenty cases in the statewide total are pending identification of county, which include two new cases reported today.

The statewide total for coronavirus cases also includes two Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

A total 72 patients have recovered since the start of the outbreak, with health officials reporting three new recoveries today. By county those recoveries included: 52 Oahu cases, 11 Maui cases, six on the Big Island, and three on Kauai.

Correction: The Health Department officials updated today’s total to reflect that there were no new hospitalization cases reported today. They had earlier reported two new cases within the 15 people requiring hospitalization.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

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