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Hawaii sees 165 new COVID-19 infections and 2 coronavirus-related deaths as statewide tally tops 24K

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                                Pharmacist Ahn Mitsuda readies a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Manoa Gardens.


    Pharmacist Ahn Mitsuda readies a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Manoa Gardens.

Hawaii health officials today reported two new coronavirus-related deaths and 165 new infections, bringing the state’s totals since the start of the pandemic to 320 fatalities and 24,223 cases.

No further details were immediately available regarding the two coronavirus-related deaths on Oahu.

The state’s official coronavirus-related death toll includes 251 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 today 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 past two weeks.

The U.S. coronavirus death toll was above 393,000 today with total coronavirus cases across the nation now topping 23.6 million. A COVID-19 variant that emerged in the U.K. could become a dominant strain in the U.S. by March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Center said Friday.

Today’s new statewide infection cases reported by the Health Department include 114 on Oahu, 30 on Maui, 11 on the Big Island, one on Kauai, and nine residents diagnosed outside of Hawaii, officials said.

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

The total number of coronavirus cases by island since the start of the outbreak are 19,805 on Oahu, 2,066 in Hawaii County, 1,430 on Maui, 172 on Kauai, 106 on Lanai and 25 on Molokai. There are also 619 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

State health officials said Thursday they are investigating COVID-19 clusters on Oahu and Maui recorded within the past 14 days. Officials said there are no clusters in Hawaii County and Kauai County under investigation within the past 14 days.

According to Thursday’s report of COVID-19 clusters under investigation on Oahu by state health officials within the past 14 days, correctional facilities saw the largest number of infections with 597 total cases and two clusters. Health officials reported one cluster of 31 total cases from social gatherings such as parties, weddings, funerals and other group gatherings. Food suppliers such as grocery stores, food distributors, farms and food pantries saw 30 total cases from two clusters. Health officials did not identify the locations of the clusters.

In the same report, Maui saw a total of 108 cases from clusters at three different residential apartment complexes. Maui County District Health Office was alerted to an increase of cases in late December. Maui District Health Office said earlier this month the spike in confirmed cases in Maui County is believed to have stemmed from holiday gatherings.

Hawaii health officials said today that of the state’s total infection count, 2,190 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 three today.

By island, Oahu has 1,616 active cases, Maui has 401, the Big Island has 146, Kauai has 24 and Molokai has three, according to the state’s latest tally. Lanai has no active COVID cases.

Health officials counted 10,634 new COVID-19 test results in today’s tally, for a 1.55% statewide positivity rate. The state’s 7-day average positivity rate is 2.6%, according to the Hawaii COVID-19 Data dashboard.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii infection cases, 1,604 have required hospitalizations, with eight 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 1,600 hospitalizations within the state, 1,409 have been on Oahu, 92 on the Big Island, 86 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 108 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of 8:30 a.m. Friday, with 20 in intensive care units and 18 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.

Today’s seven-day average case count for Oahu is 105 and the seven-day average positivity rate is 3.3%, according to Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi.

Blangiardi said Thursday he hoped to stay in Tier 2, a four-tiered framework established by former Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Under Tier 3, social gatherings of up to 10 would be allowed, up from 5 under Tier 2, and retail businesses would be able to operate at full capacity, rather than 50% capacity under Tier 2.

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

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