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Hawaii News

Health care team off to Lanai as COVID-19 cases rise

A team of health care workers from the state Health Department and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to arrive next week on Lanai, which saw two new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the Pineapple Island’s number of infections to 98.

Overall on Friday, Hawaii saw 94 new cases: 74 on Oahu, 14 on Hawaii island, three on Maui, one on Kauai and the two on Lanai.

Kauai’s case was an adult male from the mainland who tested negative before traveling to the Garden Isle. He developed symptoms on Kauai, was hospitalized and tested positive, Kauai officials said.

Kauai had four active cases as of Friday morning, and all were related to mainland travel. Thirteen people associated with the recent cases were in quarantine, officials said.

Kauai has had 64 COVID-19 cases and one that’s likely COVID-19 related.

Friday’s numbers mean Hawaii has had 15,003 cases of COVID-19 and 216 deaths since February.

State officials Friday also reported another COVID-19 death — a Hawaii island man in his 70s who was hospitalized with underlying conditions.

The team heading to Lanai is expected to reinforce ongoing efforts to respond to Lanai’s outbreak.

“This group of medical experts plans to identify priority groups for repeat testing and to work with local providers on best ways to implement serial testing,” state officials said in a statement. “They’ll provide consultation to the school, hospital and businesses on COVID-19 best practices for prevention and mitigation. And the team will provide materials for community education and provide additional outreach and contact tracing activities as needed.”

The islands have been averaging 75 new cases over the previous seven days, down from previous daily highs in the triple digits.

Oahu has seen the highest recent numbers by far: 51 average new cases per day, for a positive test rate of 2.1%. The entire state has averaged a daily positive test rate of 1.8%.

On Friday, state officials also said that 5,578 passengers arrived from out of state Thursday, and 2,287 indicated they were on vacation. Some 994 passengers were returning residents.

Beginning Oct. 15, Hawaii began allowing the arrival of U.S. passengers without requiring a 14-day quarantine, as long as they tested negative for COVID-19 by an approved testing facility within 72 hours of boarding an inbound flight.

Some 27,028 visitors arrived during the first week, but the number fell 25% during the second week to 20,188 visitors.

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