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Hawaii health officials investigating COVID-19 clusters on Maui and Oahu; 6 deaths of Hawaii residents between the ages of 70 and 109

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / JAN. 13
                                Pier 2 will be used as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site, along with the Neal S. Blaisdell Center, for seniors and qualified essential workers by appointment only starting on Monday.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / JAN. 13

    Pier 2 will be used as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site, along with the Neal S. Blaisdell Center, for seniors and qualified essential workers by appointment only starting on Monday.

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UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.

Hawaii Department of Health officials said Thursday afternoon the five coronavirus-related deaths on Oahu and one death on Maui were residents who had underlying health conditions when they were hospitalized with COVID-19.

They included a Maui man in his 90s, an Oahu woman in her 70s, another Oahu woman in her 80s and another woman in her 100s, and two Oahu men in their 90s, state health officials said.

Health officials also said 36 of Thursday’s reported 179 new infections statewide were from the Tripler Army Medical Center.

Meanwhile, health officials are investigating coronavirus clusters on Oahu and Maui. Officials said there are no clusters in Hawaii County and Kauai County under investigation within the past 14 days.

In a weekly COVID-19 cluster report released Thursday, state officials said they were investigating the following clusters on Oahu within the past 14 days:

>> Correctional facilities (2 clusters and 597 total cases)

>> Educational settings (2 clusters and 9 total cases)

>> Food suppliers such as grocery stores, farms and food pantries (2 clusters and 30 total cases)

>> Restaurants (3 clusters and 29 total cases)

>> Other occupational settings such as offices, retail establishments and first responders (1 cluster and 11 total cases)

>> Social gatherings such as parties, group gatherings, weddings and funerals (1 cluster and 31 total cases)

“The Hawaii State Department of Health reminds everyone to continue to follow basic COVID-19 safety precautions. Physical distancing from people we don’t live with, consistent and proper mask-wearing, and hand hygiene are still the first line of defense against COVID-19,” according to the report.

In the same report, state officials said they were investigating the following clusters on Maui within the past 14 days:

>> Bars and nightclubs (1 cluster and 6 total cases)

>> Food suppliers such as grocery stores, farms and food pantries (2 clusters and 31 total cases)

>> Restaurants (4 clusters and 35 total cases)

>> Construction and industrial (1 cluster and 3 total cases)

>> Other occupational settings such as offices, retail establishments and first responders (1 cluster and 10 total cases)

>> Social gatherings such as parties, group gatherings, weddings and funerals (1 cluster and 4 total cases)

>> Other: Apartment complexes (3 clusters and 108 total cases)

Health officials said in late December that Maui County saw an increase in coronavirus clusters associated with residential apartment complexes, predominately affecting the Pacific Islander community. A total of 108 cases from three different complexes have been identified to date, state health officials said in the report.

According to the report, a total of 18 infected people were accommodated at an unidentified, designated Maui County isolation and quarantine facility. Maui held four drive-thru coronavirus testing events and 16 onsite testing events put on by an unidentified urgent care clinic and the National Guard. As a result of the testing, officials recorded 112 out of 676 individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Factors contributing to transmission in this cluster included social gatherings during which physical distancing practices were not observed and lack of consistent and proper mask wearing. Factors that helped slow spread of disease included providing culturally and linguistically appropriate education and outreach, increasing testing uptake by conducting food drives at testing sites, and making it possible for community members to observe recommended prevention measures by providing isolation and quarantine support and additional wraparound services,” according to the report.

According to the latest information from the department’s Hawaii COVID-19 Data dashboard, a total of 104 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of 8:30 a.m. Thursday, with 24 in intensive care units and 19 on ventilators.

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Hawaii health officials Thursday reported six new coronavirus-related deaths and 179 new infections, bringing the state’s totals since the start of the pandemic to 318 fatalities and 23,908 cases.

Five deaths occurred on Oahu and one was on Maui.

No further details were immediately available regarding the latest coronavirus-related deaths.

The state’s official coronavirus-related death toll includes 249 fatalities on Oahu, 45 on Hawaii island, 20 on Maui, one on Kauai, and three Hawaii residents who died on the mainland. The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said Thursday that the Big Island’s COVID-19 death toll remained at 51, but state officials have not verified coronavirus as a factor in six of those fatalities. Hawaii County has reported no coronavirus-related deaths in the last two weeks.

The U.S. coronavirus death toll was above 386,000 Thursday with total coronavirus cases across the nation now topping 23 million.

Today’s new statewide infection cases reported by the Health Department include 122 on Oahu, 32 on Maui, 13 on the Big Island, one on Kauai and 11 state residents diagnosed outside of Hawaii, officials said.

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

The total number of coronavirus cases by island since the start of the outbreak are 19,580 on Oahu, 2,050 in Hawaii County, 1,374 on Maui, 170 on Kauai, 106 on Lanai and 25 on Molokai. There are also 603 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

Hawaii health officials said today that of the state’s total infection count, 2,281 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 decreased by 11 today.

By island, Oahu has 1,673 active cases, Maui has 416, the Big Island has 163, Kauai has 25 and Molokai has three, according to the state’s latest tally. Lanai has no active COVID cases.

Health officials counted 5,983 new COVID-19 test results in today’s tally, for a 2.99% statewide positivity rate. The state’s 7-day average positivity rate is 3%, according to the Hawaii COVID-19 Data dashboard.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii infection cases, 1,596 have required hospitalizations, with 16 new hospitalizations reported today by state health officials.

Four hospitalizations in the statewide count are Hawaii residents who were diagnosed and treated outside the state. Of the 1,592 hospitalizations within the state, 1,402 have been on Oahu, 92 on the Big Island, 85 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 116 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, with 26 in intensive care units and 22 on ventilators.

State health officials have started posting the total number of vaccinations administered statewide. As of Wednesday, the department said 40,386 individuals have been vaccinated since Jan. 9 — including 25,613 in Honolulu County, 4,182 in Maui County, 4,251 in Hawaii County, and 2,740 in Kauai County. The vaccination numbers are updated weekly.

Oahu moved to the less-restrictive Tier 2 of Honolulu’s four-tier economic recovery plan on Oct. 22. 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.

Thursday’s seven-day average case count for Oahu is 137 and the seven-day average positivity rate is 4.1%, according to Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. However, Oahu’s seven-day average case count without inmates is 130, with a seven-day positivity rate of 4%.

Thursday marks the first time Oahu has moved above a seven-day average case count higher than 100 since the debut of the tier system. Blangiardi said last week that Oahu will remain at Tier 2 and will follow former Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s use of metrics excluding prisoners to determine tier status.


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


Correction: An earlier version of this story said there were no clusters in Maui County under investigation within the past 14 days. This has been corrected to Kauai County.

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