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Hawaii’s records 3 coronavirus-related deaths; new infections include Kona hospital worker

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                                State health director Bruce Anderson announced three more deaths of Hawaii residents with COVID-19 today.


    State health director Bruce Anderson announced three more deaths of Hawaii residents with COVID-19 today.

UPDATE: 6:05 p.m.

An employee at Kona Community Hospital has tested positive for coronavirus, Hawaii County officials said today.

The employee tested positive on Friday.

“The hospital is in the process of contact tracing to identify anyone that may have been in contact with the staff member. No additional employees have been tested positive,” county officials said. They said the state Department of Health “is supporting the hospital’s care and management of the affected employee and precautions to protect patients and staff.”

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Earlier today, state officials announced that three more Hawaii residents with coronavirus have died, bringing the statewide COVID-19 death toll to 22 since the outbreak began in Hawaii in late February.


There were three more coronavirus-related deaths reported today involving Hawaii residents, a “tragic reminder of the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and their families.”

State health officials said an elderly Kauai resident died in Arizona, while receiving treatment for several months for underlying medical conditions. Another female, a previous resident of a care home, died in an Oahu hospital Sunday morning, and an elderly Oahu man with underlying medical issues was also added to the death toll after reviewing his health history.

The latest fatalities raise Hawaii’s coronavirus-related death toll to 22. Fifteen of the deaths have been on Oahu, six on Maui and one resident outside of the state.

“We all extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of these three people. The best tribute to their lives and to the lives of all 22 people who’ve lost the fight against coronavirus, is getting everyone in Hawaii to take personal responsibility for their own health and the health of everyone around them,” Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson said in a news release.

Along with the deaths, the state also reported 23 new COVID-19 cases today, including 19 on Oahu, one each on Hawaii island and Maui, and two diagnosed outside the state, bringing the statewide total to 1,243 since Feb. 28.

The new cases include a Nuuanu YMCA employee and their household member, also a member of the facility. The cases are not related to a cluster involving two gyms, YMCA president and CEO Michael Broderick said in a statement. The DOH has determined that the COVID-19-positive individuals were not in close contact with other YMCA members and program participants who were notified of the cases today.

As of today, 310 infections in Hawaii are active cases, with a total of 911 patients now classified by health officials as “released from isolation.” The category counts those infected people who have met the criteria for being released from isolation. Twenty-one new release cases — 18 on Oahu, two on Hawaii island and one on Maui — were reported today.

Today’s statewide coronavirus case total includes 942 on Oahu, 135 in Maui County, 102 on Hawaii island, and 43 in Kauai County, according to health officials. The total also includes 21 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

The state’s highest single-day number of reported cases — 42 — was reported on Saturday and cases continue to climb.

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Most of the 86 cases recorded since last Friday were linked to previous “community spread” clusters, including 44 cases from a training activity at Hawaiian Airlines, in which “a person infected during these meetings is linked to a cluster of 20 cases involving two Oahu gyms.” The gyms have not been disclosed.

“This clearly shows how easily and quickly this virus can spread from person-to-person and from place-to-place when people are not practicing physical distancing, not wearing masks, not staying home when sick, and possibly not washing their hands frequently and thoroughly,” state Epidemiologist Sarah Park said in the news release.

Health officials are urging the public to remain vigilant to break the disease chain — wear masks and stay 6 feet away from others while outside the home, and do not gather outside household bubbles.

Other clusters reported are a result of pau hana gatherings, businesses, urgent care and long-term care facilities, and birthday parties, Father’s Day and 4th of July celebrations and religious events.

“While the majority of Hawaii’s residents are using safe practices, clearly there are some who are not, and frankly unless everyone pays attention, we’ll, unfortunately, continue to see illnesses and deaths associated with COVID-19,” Anderson said. “Personal responsibility is the way we’ll again flatten the curve and retain Hawaii’s leadership through this unprecedented public health crisis. The upward trend of cases not only impacts people’s health but will likely delay our state’s economic recovery.”

Of all the confirmed Hawaii cases since the start of the outbreak, 128 have required hospitalizations, with three new hospitalizations reported today, health officials said.

Two hospitalizations in the statewide count are Hawaii residents who were diagnosed and treated outside the state. Of the 126 hospitalizations within the state, 97 have been on Oahu, 25 on Maui, three on Hawaii island, and one on Kauai.

By county, Honolulu has seen 660 patients released from isolation, and Maui has had 120 patients released. Hawaii County officials say the Big Island has eight active infections, while Kauai County has five.

Of the 96,079 coronavirus tests conducted so far by state and clinical laboratories in Hawaii, just over 1.3% have been positive. Health officials counted 3,836 new test results in today’s tally.

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