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Hawaii sees 3 more coronavirus deaths and 90 new infections; Honolulu prison cluster grows

                                Kimberly Souza, left, Dr. Joshua Evan, and nurse practitioner Ryan Hironaka get ready for COVID-19 drive-thru testing on Saturday at Waimanalo District Park.
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Kimberly Souza, left, Dr. Joshua Evan, and nurse practitioner Ryan Hironaka get ready for COVID-19 drive-thru testing on Saturday at Waimanalo District Park.

Hawaii health officials today reported three additional coronavirus-related deaths on Oahu and 90 new infections statewide, bringing the totals since the start of the pandemic to 274 fatalities and 19,235 cases.

No further information was immediately available about the latest deaths.

Hawaii had 198 new COVID-19 infections reported Saturday, with 153 of those on Oahu; Mayor Kirk Caldwell said a cluster at Halawa Correctional Facility was partially to blame for Oahu’s increase.

Today, the state Department of Public Safety said that the Halawa prison cluster has grown to 167 inmates and 28 staff. DPS officials said they received 99 more positive tests out of 413 inmate new test results received for a positivity rate of 24%. There were also seven more staff positive test results.

The affected inmates are in medical isolation and infected staff are following government self-quarantine guidelines. The prison’s warden also ordered facility-wide isolation and quarantine protocols on Thursday as a precaution, officials said in a news release today.

“The security and medical staff are working around the clock to safeguard the staff and inmates and keep the virus from spreading. We are seeking alternative resources to assist staff with the management of this situation,” said Max Otani, PSD director.

Today’s new statewide infection cases reported by the Health Department include 58 on Oahu, 10 on the Big Island, eight on Maui, four on Kauai, and 10 Hawaii resident diagnosed outside the state. As a result of updated information, three cases on Oahu were removed from the counts, officials said.

The statistics released today reflect the new cases reported to the department through 11:59 p.m. Friday.

The official state Department of Health coronavirus-related death toll includes 211 fatalities on Oahu, 43 on Hawaii island, 17 on Maui, one on Kauai, and two Hawaii residents who died on the mainland. The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said today that the Big Island’s COVID-19 death toll remained 49; state health officials have yet to verify coronavirus as a factor in six of those deaths.

The U.S. coronavirus death toll is nearly 300,000 today with infection cases topping 16 million since the start of the pandemic; the worldwide death toll is more than 1.6 million with more than 72 million total confirmed infections.

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Health officials counted 4,851 COVID-19 new test results, for a 1.7% statewide positivity rate.

The total number of coronavirus cases by island since the start of the outbreak are 16,266 on Oahu, 1,718 in Hawaii County, 692 on Maui, 134 on Kauai, 106 on Lanai, and 22 on Molokai. There are also 297 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

Hawaii health officials said that of the state’s total infection count, 1,319 cases are considered to be active. Health officials say they consider infections reported in the past 14 days to be a “proxy number for active cases.” The number of active cases in the state rose by 26 today.

By island, Oahu has 1,008 active cases, Maui has 160, Big Island has 124, Kauai has 22, and Molokai has five, according to the latest tally.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii infection cases, 1,365 have required hospitalizations, with four new hospitalizations reported today by state health officials.

Three hospitalizations in the statewide count are Hawaii residents who were diagnosed and treated outside the state. Of the 1,362 hospitalizations within the state, 1,200 have been on Oahu, 82 on the Big Island, 67 on Maui, seven on Kauai, five on Lanai, and one on Molokai.

According to the latest information from the department’s Hawaii COVID-19 data dashboard, a total of 58 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of noon Friday, with 21 in intensive care units and 17 on ventilators.

Oahu moved to the less-restrictive Tier 2 of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s four-tier economic recovery plan on Oct. 22. The mayor’s office says that to gauge whether Honolulu will move to a different tier, the city takes a “weekly assessment” of two key COVID-19 numbers each Wednesday. To move to Tier 3 from Tier 2, the 7-day average of new cases must be below 50 on two consecutive Wednesdays. Also, the 7-day average positivity rate must be below 2.5% on those two Wednesdays.

Today’s seven-day average case count for Oahu is 73 and the positivity rate was 2,3%, according to Caldwell.

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