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Hawaii reports 241 new coronavirus infections and 1 additional death on Oahu

                                Project Vision Hawaii registered nurse Toni Floerke, left, administers a COVID-19 PCR test to Honolulu resident Kristine San Diego during a COVID-19 testing at St. Theresa Co-Cathedral church last month in Kalihi.
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Project Vision Hawaii registered nurse Toni Floerke, left, administers a COVID-19 PCR test to Honolulu resident Kristine San Diego during a COVID-19 testing at St. Theresa Co-Cathedral church last month in Kalihi.

Hawaii health officials today reported one new coronavirus-related death on Oahu and 241 new infections, bringing the totals since the start of the pandemic to 289 fatalities and 21,638 cases.

The state’s official coronavirus-related death toll includes 224 fatalities on Oahu, 45 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 Thursday the Big Island’s COVID-19 death toll remained at 51.

The U.S. coronavirus death toll rose to nearly 347,000 today as coronavirus cases across the nation topped 20 million.

Today’s new statewide infection cases reported by the Health Department include 190 on Oahu, 28 on Maui, 13 on the Big Island, one on Kauai, and nine state residents diagnosed outside of Hawaii, officials said.

In a statement posted on social media, Mayor Kirk Caldwell called the latest figures for Oahu “very troubling” and the highest since lst summer’s surge.

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

Health officials counted 4,473 COVID-19 new test results in today’s tally, for a 5.4% statewide positivity rate. The state’s 7-day average positivity rate is 3.1%.

The total number of coronavirus cases by island since the start of the outbreak are 18,098 on Oahu, 1,900 in Hawaii County, 986 on Maui, 146 on Kauai, 106 on Lanai and 22 on Molokai. There are also 380 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

Hawaii health officials said that of the state’s total infection count, 1,727 cases were 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 increased by 108 today, mostly on Oahu.

By island, Oahu has 1,345 active cases, Maui has 241, the Big Island has 131, and Kauai has 10, according to the latest tally. Molokai and Lanai no longer have active COVID cases.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii infection cases, 1,473 have required hospitalizations, with 11 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 1,470 hospitalizations within the state, 1,295 have been on Oahu, 88 on the Big Island, 74 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 101 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of Wednesday, with 11 in intensive care units and 9 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 93 and the positivity rate is 4.1%, according to Caldwell.

The mayor, who is serving his last full day in office today, posted a statement on social media saying, “190 is a very troubling number of cases. Both this case number and the positivity rate of 4.1% is the highest Oahu has seen since we reopened our island last summer.

“It could be part of a holiday surge and hopefully if it is, it will be short lived. Let all of us as we enter the new year redouble our efforts to keep COVID-19 from tightening its grip on our community by remaining Oahu Strong.”

This breaking news story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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