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Hawaii reports 129 new coronavirus infections, bringing total to 20,650

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                                A pedestrian walks across McCully Street as a vivid rainbow brightens the sky on Dec. 17 in Honolulu.


    A pedestrian walks across McCully Street as a vivid rainbow brightens the sky on Dec. 17 in Honolulu.

Hawaii health officials today reported 129 new coronavirus infections statewide, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 20,650 cases.

The state’s official coronavirus-related death toll remains at 285 with no new deaths reported today.

The official state Department of Health coronavirus-related death toll includes 221 fatalities on Oahu, 44 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 Tuesday that the Big Island’s COVID-19 death toll remains at 50, but health officials have yet to verify coronavirus as a factor in six of those Hawaii island deaths.

The U.S. coronavirus death toll topped 328,000 today.

>> RELATED: Lagging tourism could lead to majority of Hawaii’s eateries closing, survey says

Today’s new statewide infection cases reported by the Health Department include 79 on Oahu, 33 on Maui, 13 on the Big Island, one on Kauai, and three Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state, officials said.

The statistics released today reflect the new infection cases reported to the department on Tuesday.

Health officials counted 5,206 COVID-19 new test results in today’s tally, for a 2.5% statewide positivity rate.

The total number of coronavirus cases by island since the start of the outbreak are 17,356 on Oahu, 1,848 in Hawaii County, 838 on Maui, 139 on Kauai, 106 on Lanai and 22 on Molokai. There are also 341 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state. As a result of updated information, one case from Maui was removed from the counts.

Hawaii health officials said that of the state’s total infection count, 1,733 cases were considered to be active as of Wednesday. 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 10 today.

By island, Oahu has 1,359 active cases, Maui has 197, the Big Island has 162, and Kauai has 15, according to the latest tally. Molokai and Lanai no longer have active COVID cases.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii infection cases, 1,436 have required hospitalizations, with 10 hospitalizations on Oahu 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 1,433 hospitalizations within the state, 1,263 have been on Oahu, 85 on Maui, 72 on the Big Island, 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 67 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of Wednesday, with 14 in intensive care units and 11 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 100 and the positivity rate is 3.4%, according to Caldwell.

On Monday, Caldwell said new infections among prisoners at Halawa Correctional Facility will no longer be counted in his metrics for the recovery plan. A recent cluster at the prison had been boosting Honolulu’s infection count and threatening to send Oahu back to Tier 1, the most-restrictive of the mayor’s four-tier system.

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