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2 people with coronavirus on Oahu die as Hawaii reports 261 new cases

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / AUG. 18
                                Shoppers explore Ala Moana Center on Tuesday. Mayor Kirk Caldwell said face masks will be mandatory at all Oahu shopping malls starting Thursday. The mandate is part of a series of new restrictions aimed at curbing the island’s current surge in cases.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / AUG. 18

    Shoppers explore Ala Moana Center on Tuesday. Mayor Kirk Caldwell said face masks will be mandatory at all Oahu shopping malls starting Thursday. The mandate is part of a series of new restrictions aimed at curbing the island’s current surge in cases.

Hawaii health officials reported two additional coronavirus-related fatalities on Oahu and 261 new cases in the islands Wednesday, raising the statewide total since the start of the pandemic to 5,609 infection.

The latest deaths were a Honolulu woman with underlying medical conditions and a Honolulu man. Both were over 60 years old, health officials said.

No other details on the 42nd and 43rd Hawaii deaths were immediately released. A total of 36 deaths have been on Oahu, six on Maui, while one was a Kauai resident who died on the mainland. The U.S. death toll is over 172,000 Wednesday.

Wednesday’s new COVID-19 cases include 233 on Oahu, 21 in Maui County, and seven on Hawaii island, according to the state Department of Health’s midday tally.

Officials also said “as a result of updated information,” one case from Maui was re-categorized to Honolulu, and one case from Honolulu was removed from the tally.

On Tuesday, Gov. David Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced increased restrictions for Oahu, which has seen the vast majority of Hawaii’s COVID-19 surge since late July. Social gatherings of five people or more now, whether inside or outside, are prohibited, and masks are required at all Oahu malls. However, Ige and Caldwell stopped short of the full lockdown that had been implemented for Hawaii in April.

Ige also announced that he was delaying for at least a month a plan to allow trans-Pacific travelers who test negative of COVID-19 to forego the 14-day quarantine for arrivals to Hawaii. This is the second delay for the program, which now will begin no sooner than Oct. 1.

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The statewide coronavirus case totals by county include 5,111 on Oahu, 262 on Maui County, 159 on Hawaii island, and 54 in Kauai County, according to health officials. The total also includes 23 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

As of Wednesday, 3,589 infections in Hawaii are considered active cases, with a total of 1,977 patients now classified by health officials as “released from isolation,” or about 36% of those infected. The category counts those infected people who have met the criteria for being released from isolation. Fifty-six new release cases — 51 on Oahu, three on the Big Island and two on Maui — were reported Wednesday.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii cases, 303 have required hospitalizations, with three new hospitalizations — two on Oahu and one on Maui — reported Wednesday, health officials said.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said Wednesday that there are 187 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 33 patients in intensive care units and 20 on ventilators. He said more than half the ICU beds statewide are available and that just 14% of the ventilators are in use by both virus and non-virus patients.

Two hospitalizations in the statewide count are Hawaii residents who were diagnosed and treated outside the state. Of the 301 hospitalizations within the state, 263 have been on Oahu, 31 on Maui, six on Hawaii island, and one on Kauai.

Green also said that 56 of Wednesday’s 261 new positive cases came from Oahu Community Correctional Center, which now has seen a total of 231 inmates and 36 staff-members test positive.

Officials counted 2,559 new tests in Wednesday’s tally, with Wednesday’s 261 positive cases representing 10% of the total tested. Of the 168,672 coronavirus tests conducted so far by state and clinical laboratories in Hawaii since the start of the outbreak, a total of 3.3% have been positive.

By county, Honolulu has seen 1,631 patients released from isolation, and Maui has had 165 patients released. Hawaii County has 26 active infections, while Kauai has five, according to Health Department figures.

Hawaii’s daily new-case count hit triple digits for the first time in late July, and has remained there for most of August, with the vast majority of confirmed infections on Oahu. On Thursday, the daily count reached a record 355.

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