After including Hawaii’s COVID-19-related deaths in its “released from isolation” category for months, the Hawaii Department of Health has decided to remove them.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Friday that the DOH had included the state’s 17 COVID-19-related deaths in the category which the media and some government officials had used to calculate a recovery rate. In a footnote Thursday, the Health Department acknowledged for the first time that deaths were included in the category.
After questions and criticism over the use of including fatalities in that category, the number of deaths were removed from that count on Friday.
“We had a number of media inquiries about why deaths were included in the number,” Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the DOH, said in an email. “I asked the director (Bruce Anderson) about it and he decided that deaths should not be included in the released from isolation number. They were taken out.”
“Released from isolation” cases include people whose symptoms subsided and who were deemed to no longer have the coronavirus.
As of Saturday, the DOH website in a revised footnote states that the “cases that have died and one case that has left the jurisdiction have been removed” from the category.
Kauai’s “released from isolation” count has also dropped by one. But Okubo explained that a visitor in isolation has “left the jurisdiction” and was allowed to return home. None of Kauai’s 21 coronavirus cases are considered active.
The number of people the DOH listed as “released from isolation” was 551 on Saturday and 548 on Friday. On Thursday that number was 565.