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Hawaii sees spike of 18 new coronavirus cases as statewide total climbs to 762

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Travelers waited on the curb to be picked up at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on Tuesday when interisland 14-day quarantine travel restrictions were lifted for passengers.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Travelers waited on the curb to be picked up at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on Tuesday when interisland 14-day quarantine travel restrictions were lifted for passengers.

Hawaii recorded a spike of 18 new coronavirus cases today, as the statewide total of infections since the start of the outbreak climbed to 762, state Department of Health officials said in their daily midday count.

Today’s new cases include 15 Oahu residents and three others diagnosed on Oahu with their residences not yet identified and still under investigation, health officials said today in an email.

Kauai health officials this afternoon reported its first new case for the island since early April. It was unclear whether the new Kauai case was included in today’s state tally.

Oahu bars, taverns, cocktail lounges, gyms, fitness centers and indoor attractions are among the businesses preparing to reopen Friday.

“This spike in cases and other recent daily spikes have been expected as people begin to move around more freely and more businesses are reopening,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park in an email. “It’s important to point out, that the vast majority of the cases we’re seeing in the state are being spread by what we call community-associated infection. Only a handful of recent cases have been detected in travelers, known as travel-associated infection.”

>> RELATED STORY: Demand for travel could boost Hawaii’s recovery

As of today, 105 infections in Hawaii are active cases with a total of 640 patients now classified by health officials as “released from isolation” since the start of the outbreak in February. One new release cases on Oahu was reported today. The category counts those infected people who have met the criteria for being released from isolation.

About 83% of the Hawaii people who have been infected are now classified as released from isolation.

By county, Honolulu has seen 426 patients released from isolation, and Maui has had 113 patients released. The Big Island has two active infections, while Kauai reported a new case of an adult male resident who received a positive test result today.

“As the investigation has just begun, we do not yet have information about possible sources of infection, including whether or not there may have been travel-related exposure,” said Kauai District Health officer Dr. Janet Berreman in an email.

The state’s coronavirus death toll remains unchanged at 17. Eleven of the deaths have been on Oahu and six on Maui.

The state’s count of new COVID-19 cases so far in June has already doubled the total of new cases recorded in May.

The Hale Nani Rehabilitation and Nursing Center reported a small outbreak on Wednesday with a total of 10 confirmed cases. Two were employees and the other eight were identified as residents. So far, 307 coronavirus tests of the nursing home’s staff have returned negative results.

“When there has been exposure in a health care setting like this, resulting increase in infections are possible and unfortunate, but not unexpected,” Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble said in an email. “We could continue to see a number of new cases over the next two weeks.”

Meanwhile, state House Speaker Scott Saiki said today that a House Majority Research Office staff member tested positive for coronavirus. The staff member was immediately excused to work from home along with all HMRO staff, according to an email from Saiki.

“The House of Representatives is working closely with Dr. Sarah Park and the Department of Health (DOH) on contact tracing of HMSO employees,” Saiki said in a statement. “The House is committed to ensuring the safety and health of all legislators and employees at the Capitol. We will continue enforcing safe practices including social distancing, daily temperature screenings by National Guard members, and modified work procedures.”

State lawmakers are scheduled to reconvene on June 22, but the state Capitol will remain closed to the public.

Today’s statewide coronavirus cases total includes 526 on Oahu, 120 in Maui County, 83 on Hawaii island, and 22 in Kauai County, according to health officials. The total also includes 12 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii cases since the start of the outbreak, 95 have required hospitalizations, with no new hospitalizations reported today, health officials said.

One hospitalization in the statewide count is a Hawaii resident who was diagnosed and treated outside the state, officials said. Of the 94 hospitalizations in the state, 69 have been on Oahu, 22 on Maui, and one for Kauai.

Of the more than 65,744 coronavirus tests conducted so far by state and clinical laboratories in Hawaii, about 1.2% have been positive. Health officials counted 1,370 new test results in today’s tally.

Hawaii has seen an upsurge in cases in June after a relatively mild May. So far this month, Hawaii has reported 114 new confirmed cases, compared with 46 for all of May.

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

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