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2 new COVID-19 deaths and 236 new coronavirus cases as Hawaii’s tally climbs to 5,844

  • GEORGE F. LEE / AUG. 19
                                Hawaii National Guard personnel performed their duties as contact tracers Wednesday at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

    GEORGE F. LEE / AUG. 19

    Hawaii National Guard personnel performed their duties as contact tracers Wednesday at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

Hawaii Department of Health officials reported two new COVID-19 deaths today, bringing the statewide coronavirus-related death toll to 45.

The state’s latest fatalities — an Oahu man over 60 years old, and a Lanai man between the age of 40 and 59 years old — had underlying health conditions, officials said. The Oahu man died Aug. 15 and the Lanai man was hospitalized on Maui before he died.

Following the announcement of the deaths, Gov. David Ige signed a proclamation today empowering the counties to establish resort travel bubbles.

A total of 37 deaths have been on Oahu, seven on Maui, while one was a Kauai resident who died on the mainland. The U.S. death toll is over 173,000 today.

Health officials reported 236 new coronavirus cases in the islands today, raising the statewide total since the start of the pandemic to 5,844.

The statewide coronavirus case totals by county include 5,340 on Oahu, 263 on Maui County, 164 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 a result of “updated information,” health officials said one case was recategoried from Maui to Oahu, and one Oahu case was removed from the tally.

Today’s new COVID-19 cases include 229 on Oahu, five on Hawaii island, and two in Maui County, according to the state Department of Health’s noon tally.

>> RELATED: Gov. David Ige defends Hawaii’s contact tracing

Amid recent concerns about the lack of contact tracers, Ige on Wednesday defended Hawaii’s contact-tracing efforts as “better than average and amongst the best in the country.”

On Tuesday, 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.

As of today, 3,768 infections in Hawaii are considered active cases, with a total of 2,031 patients now classified by health officials as “released from isolation,” or about 35% of those infected. The category counts those infected people who have met the criteria for being released from isolation. Fifty-four new release cases — 50 on Oahu, two in Kauai County, one each in Hawaii and Maui Counties — were reported today.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii cases, 317 have required hospitalizations, with 14 new hospitalizations — 13 on Oahu and one in Hawaii County — reported today, health officials said.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said today that there are 165 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 29 patients in intensive care units and 19 on ventilators.

Two hospitalizations in the statewide count are Hawaii residents who were diagnosed and treated outside the state. Of the 315 hospitalizations within the state, 276 have been on Oahu, 31 on Maui, seven on Hawaii island, and one on Kauai.

Officials counted 2,512 new tests in today’s tally, with today’s 236 positive cases representing 9.4% of the total tested. Of the 171,184 coronavirus tests conducted so far by state and clinical laboratories in Hawaii since the start of the outbreak, a total of 3.4% have been positive.

By county, Honolulu has seen 1,681 patients released from isolation, and Maui has had 166 patients released. Hawaii County has 30 active infections, while Kauai has three, 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. Last week Thursday, the daily count reached a record 355.

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This breaking news story will be updated again.

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