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Hawaii records 3rd coronavirus death as cases climb to 319 statewide

Hawaii Department of Health officials today reported the third death from COVID-19 and said that the state’s tally of coronavirus cases has risen to 319, up 34 from Thursday.

The latest fatality was an elderly Oahu resident who had been hospitalized in critical condition on life support for several weeks after returning from Washington state, officials said.

“We offer our sincere condolence to his family and friends at this difficult time,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson. “His death, the third death in Hawaii, is a tragic reminder of the virulent and contagious nature of this virus. We all must all work together to stop the spread of this deadly disease. Stay healthy by staying home, and if you must go out, always keep a six foot distance from others.”

Anderson reminded the public that Hawaii is under a state of emergency and all residents must stay home except for essential activities until at least April 30. “Essential activities include grocery shopping, getting takeout food, medicine and gasoline, taking care of the elderly, minors, and those with disabilities, and medical appointments. Those who need to walk their dogs, jog or exercise, should do so from home and practice social distancing. If you must go out, stay at least six feet from others at all times.

“You should act as though you have COVID-19 and everyone around you does too,” said Anderson

Of all the confirmed cases in Hawaii since the start of the outbreak, 18 have required hospitalizations, state health officials said today, with three new hospitalizations reported today. Sixteen of the hospitalization cases are on Oahu, up two from Thursday, one is on Kauai, and the first Maui County hospitalization case was reported today.

All three deaths have been on Oahu and most of the new Hawaii coronavirus cases today are in Honolulu County.

Today’s statewide total includes 237 cases on Oahu, 36 in Maui County, 20 on Hawaii island, and 13 in Kauai County, according to health officials.

In all, state officials today reported 31 new cases on Oahu, nine in Maui County, two on Hawaii island and one in Kauai County. However, health officials later clarified that the sum of changes by county is “larger than the number of statewide newly reported cases because of previously reported pending cases being reclassified to county totals as more information is collected.”

The Maui County cases include the first reported positive tests on Molokai and in Hana.

Eleven cases in the statewide total are pending identification of county.

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

A total 78 patients have recovered since the start of the outbreak, with health officials reporting six new recoveries today. By county those recoveries included: 57 Oahu cases, 11 Maui cases, six on the Big Island, and four on Kauai.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said today that the latest fatality is tragic but also expected “given the number of cases we have in the islands.”

“About one out of every 100 people affected by COVID-19 need critical care and can die,” Green said. “That’s why we have to do everything possible to shelter in place and adhere to social distancing. That’s the only way we get through this without lots of fatalities.”

State officials are urging people to wear a mask when out in public.

“Everyone please be careful. One of my best friends from college (Associated Press editor Anick Jesdanun) who was just 51 years old died (Thursday) from COVID-19 and he was marathoner,” Green said. “That tells us how serious this disease is.”

The lieutenant governor, who has been heading community efforts to prepare for a surge in cases, said the state is tracking almost exactly at the curve predicted a week ago.

“Eight days into the lockdown we’re succeeding as long as we keep this up,” he said.

Correction: The Oahu tally of coronavirus cases is 237. An earlier version of this story had an incorrect higher number. In addition, the statewide increase of 34 new cases is lower than the sum of the new cases by county; health officials said this afternoon that the sum of changes by county is “larger than the number of statewide newly reported cases because of previously reported pending cases being reclassified to county totals as more information is collected.”

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