Gov. David Ige said the state is “well prepared” to deal with future increases in COVID-19 cases as the state today marked the highest daily surge in new coronavirus cases since the outbreak began.
Health officials reported 41 new cases today, including 38 on Oahu, two on Kauai and one of Hawaii island.
Ige said he will continue to monitor the conditions and respond appropriately using data as the state reopens the economy and tourism.
“I just want to assure everyone in the state of Hawaii that we expected this,” Ige said, reminding that the state did not reopen the economy early. “That we knew as we reopened the economy, we would get a number of new cases.”
Ige said the state has low rates of infections and hospitalizations compared to the mainland. Ige said he will be meeting with county mayors on Wednesday to reassess statewide mandates.
“I want to assure everyone that the health and well-being of our community is a priority,” Ige said.
Hawaii State Department of Health Epidemiologist Sarah Park said the coronavirus clusters on Oahu have been associated with multiple gatherings, including one at a gym, a Father’s Day gathering and training held by Hawaiian Airlines.
“The common theme is that people are letting their guard down,” Park said. “… We need to mask up. We need to keep our distance around each other.”
Health Director Bruce Anderson called today’s spike a “wake-up call” for Hawaii.
“I think we all need to do our part in keeping COVID down to manageable level,” he said.
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Hawaii health officials counted 41 new coronavirus cases today — the state’s highest number of daily cases since the outbreak began.
The record daily increase brings the statewide total number of infections to 1,071. Oahu has 38 of today’s new cases, while there are two on Kauai and one on the Big Island.
Hawaii’s previous daily high for new cases came in the first week of April when two separate days saw 34 cases each.
“I have grave concerns that this could get away from us,” Lt. Gov. Josh Green told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser today. “People need to not gather in groups greater than 10 and they need to wear a mask. Promoting large events like the Kalakaua Street gathering is a terrible mistake. We are still in the middle of a pandemic.”
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s Kalakaua Open Street Sundays, which closes the avenue in Waikiki to vehicular traffic to reserve the space for walkers, joggers and bicyclists, started June 14 and runs through July. Green is expected to run against Caldwell in the 2022 governor’s race.
As of today, 255 infections in Hawaii are active cases, with a total of 797 patients now classified by health officials as “released from isolation” — about 74% of those infected. Sixteen newly released cases — 13 on Oahu, two on Kauai and 1 on Maui — were reported today. The category counts those infected people who have met the criteria for being released from isolation.
The state’s coronavirus death toll remains at 19. Thirteen of the deaths have been on Oahu and six on Maui.
Today’s statewide coronavirus case total includes 788 on Oahu, 128 in Maui County, 95 on Hawaii island, and 42 in Kauai County, according to health officials. The total also includes 18 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.
Dr. Scott Miscovich, who is heading broad testing efforts throughout the islands, warned that Hawaii is “proceeding into very dangerous territory.”
“First, the actual number has consistently risen to now the all-time high. Second, these positive cases are spread throughout the islands, primarily Oahu, and are no longer just isolated clusters of individuals,” he said. “This is broad community spread of unknown cause and we are just finishing the three-day Fourth of July holiday weekend, as well as the resumption of summer funs and group sports practices, which means in the next 7 to 14 days the COVID-19 cases will only likely increase significantly.”
He added that those between the ages of 20 to 35 are seeing the most rapid increase of coronavirus cases.
“The government only can do so much. The people of America have to understand their responsibility and the importance of social distancing and wearing their masks and reducing their group indoor activities,” Miscovich said. “This is where this respiratory virus is spread. It’s up to the people now to start standing up and understanding that they will be the difference.”
Of all the confirmed Hawaii cases since the start of the outbreak, 119 have required hospitalizations, with no new hospitalizations on Oahu reported today, health officials said.
One hospitalization in the statewide count is a Hawaii resident who was diagnosed and treated outside the state. Of the 118 hospitalizations within the state, 89 have been on Oahu, 25 on Maui, three on Hawaii island, and one for Kauai.
By county, Honolulu has seen 559 patients released from isolation, and Maui has had 116 patients released. Hawaii island has eight active infections, while Kauai has six.
Of the 87,096 coronavirus tests conducted so far by state and clinical laboratories in Hawaii, 1.2% have been positive. Health officials counted 1,423 new test results in today’s tally.
Star-Advertiser reporter Kristen Consillio contributed to this report.