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Hawaii sees 63 new coronavirus cases as Hilo Medical Center reports another death at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / 2007
                                The Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo has been the site of a major cluster of coronavirus cases.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS / 2007

    The Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo has been the site of a major cluster of coronavirus cases.

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UPDATED: 4:43 p.m.

Hawaii Department of Health officials said today there were no additional deaths today, but reported 20 deaths are pending verification and classification.

“DOH is awaiting medical records and reports to verify these deaths prior to official reporting,” according to a news release.

Gov. David Ige is expected to sign off the latest Oahu “recovery framework” that Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell unveiled this afternoon at a press conference. Caldwell said the framework will determine the criteria for loosening or tightening restrictions in the future.

>> RELATED: Mayor Caldwell unveils new ‘recovery framework’ for COVID-19 response on Oahu

On Thursday, parks, beaches and trails will be opened up for use by groups of up to five people for exercise, reading, sunbathing, picnics and other lawful activity. Under the new plan, Caldwell also announced the reopening of other businesses.

Also today, the state Department of the Attorney General said a 34-year-old woman from New Hampshire was arrested for allegedly violating the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine order. Special agents arrested Natalie Pritchett Haley of Landaff, N.H., after Waikiki hotel staff said they witnessed Haley and her husband leaving their room shortly after arriving in Honolulu on Saturday.

“Her husband is in the military and lied on his wife’s behalf. He had completed his mandatory quarantine. The man told hotel staff, since the couple had been turned in, they would check-out tomorrow,” according to state health officials.

Haley was charged and her bail was set at $2,000.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said today that there are 181 COVID-19 patients in Hawaii hospitals, with 61 of them in intensive care units and 39 on ventilators. He said that 160, or 66%, of the state’s 244 ICU beds, and 110, or 24%, of Hawaii’s 459 ventilators are in use, by both coronavirus and non-virus patients.

Officials counted 1,489 new tests in today’s tally, with today’s 63 positive results representing 4.2% of the total tested.

Of the 284,069 coronavirus tests conducted so far by state and clinical laboratories in Hawaii since the start of the outbreak, a total of 4% have been positive. Of the 56,257 total surge tests conducted recently on Oahu, 342, or less than 1%, were positive.

11:50 a.m.

Hawaii Department of Health officials today reported 63 new coronavirus infections statewide, bringing the total number since the start of the pandemic to 11,522 cases.

It is the third day in a row that the statewide count fell below 100. On Monday, officials reported 56 new cases.

The new infection cases in Hawaii today included 55 on Oahu and eight in Hawaii County.

The official statewide death toll again remained unchanged at 120 today but it is expected to climb significantly since the state Health Department has not yet verified the cause of death in most of the reported fatalities at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo. Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency today reported an additional death at the veterans home, bumping up the facility’s death toll to 25.

The Health Department’s official death toll as of today includes 95 on Oahu, 15 on Hawaii island, and nine on Maui, while one was a Kauai resident who died on the mainland.

Today’s total coronavirus cases by county since the start of the outbreak are 10,393 on Oahu, 659 in Hawaii County, 385 in Maui County, and 57 in Kauai County. There are also 28 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

As of today, 6,410 infections are considered active cases statewide, with a total of 4,992 patients now classified by health officials as “released from isolation,” or nearly 43% of those infected. The category counts those infected people who have met the criteria for being released from isolation. Officials reported 104 new release cases today.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii cases, 749 have required hospitalizations, with 14 new hospitalizations — 13 on Oahu and one in Hawaii County — reported today, health officials said.

Two hospitalizations in the statewide count are Hawaii residents who were diagnosed and treated outside the state. Of the 728 hospitalizations in the state, 663 have been on Oahu, 48 on Maui, 35 on Hawaii island, and one on Kauai.

By county, Honolulu has seen 4,197 patients released from isolation, Hawaii County has had 474 releases, Maui has seen 265 patients released. Kauai has no active cases as of today, according to the Health Department.

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The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency today reported one more fatality at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home, raising the facility’s pandemic death toll to 25. A total of 27 people with COVID-19 have died on the Big Island, all but two of whom were residents of the nursing home, according to the agency.

Nineteen people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Hawaii County, the agency said. No other details were immediately available.

“Our sincere gratitude for their service to the country and prayers and condolences to their families,” according to a message from the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency. “To support efforts at the Veterans Home, a nineteen person team from the Veterans Administration is at the facility to support operations. A grateful thank you to the Veterans Administration for their assistance.”

As of Monday, a total of 70 nursing home residents and 32 employees have tested positive for the virus, according to Avalon Healthcare, the veterans home’s managing company. The home had 89 residents before the coronavirus outbreak at the facility.

A report released Monday by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency found “multiple potential sources of infections” brought into the 95-bed facility by employees who appear to be “connected to known community outbreaks, unknown asymptomatic but infectious carriers (staff), and community outbreak exposure at a dialysis center.”

A separate report by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said “there was very little proactive preparation/planning for COVID.”

The U.S. death toll today surpassed 200,000. The bleak milestone, by far the highest confirmed death toll from the virus in the world, was reported by Johns Hopkins.

>> RELATED: HI-EMA report says Hilo veterans home staff played role in COVID-19 spread and ‘Unfathomable’: U.S. death toll from coronavirus hits 200,000

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