comscore 2 Oahu residents with underlying health conditions mark latest coronavirus-related deaths; Officials investigating 2 separate clusters at Maui County hotels | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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2 Oahu residents with underlying health conditions mark latest coronavirus-related deaths; Officials investigating 2 separate clusters at Maui County hotels

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                People line up for food at Central Union Church Wednesday. The church holds a weekly Serving Aloha Free Food Distribution Head volunteer Karl Hedburg said Wednesday’s food was provided by Aloha Harvest and Chef Hui. The economic toll of the pandemic has caused a large increase in food insecurity in Hawaii.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    People line up for food at Central Union Church Wednesday. The church holds a weekly Serving Aloha Free Food Distribution Head volunteer Karl Hedburg said Wednesday’s food was provided by Aloha Harvest and Chef Hui. The economic toll of the pandemic has caused a large increase in food insecurity in Hawaii.

UPDATE: 3:35 p.m.

Hawaii Department of Health said in an email this afternoon the two latest deaths reported today were Oahu residents who had underlying health conditions when they were hospitalized with COVID-19. They were a man in his 70s and a woman in her 90s.

Hawaii health officials referred to CDC in defining “underlying medical conditions,” such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, down syndrome, heart conditions, weakened immune system from a solid organ transplant, obesity, severe obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking and Type 2 diabetes.

According to the latest information from the department’s Hawaii COVID-19 Data dashboard, a total of 83 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of this morning, with 20 in intensive care units and 16 on ventilators.

Meanwhile, state health officials said today they are investigating two separate COVID-19 clusters in Maui County with a total of nine cases involving hotel employees including housekeeping and concierge departments at hotel and accommodation settings.

According to the state’s weekly COVID-19 cluster report released today, clusters in the local hotel industry are a concern since many employees may come in close contact with travelers from across the world potentially experiencing coronavirus outbreaks.

“Risk factors for transmission of COVID-19 that have been identified as potential contributors in local clusters associated with hotel and accommodation settings have included insufficient spacing in the lunchroom between employees, improper mask usage, and potentially inadequate measures to reduce environmental contamination when turning over rooms between guests,” according to the report.

Health officials are recommending to minimize local coronavirus clusters by strictly enforcing mask usage on shared residential and all commercial property; continuously emphasizing the proper way to wear a mask; providing ample space for shared employee spaces such as lunchrooms; and allowing guest rooms to remain untouched for 24 hours before cleaning.

“It is also recommended that employees reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission while carpooling to and from work by having the windows rolled down in the car whenever possible and making sure that the driver and all passengers wear masks for the entire trip,” according to the report.

Also in Maui County, health officials are investigating two separate clusters with 18 total cases at unidentified food suppliers, two separate clusters with a total of 14 cases at unidentified restaurants, three separate clusters with 20 total cases at construction and industrial settings, and four separate clusters with 123 total cases at apartment complexes.

On Oahu, health officials are investigating one large cluster with 678 total cases at correctional facilities, two separate clusters with 31 total cases at unidentified restaurants, and one cluster with 13 total cases at an unnamed residential facility.

There have been no clusters in Hawaii and Kauai counties under investigation within the past 14 days, health officials said.

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Hawaii Department of Health officials today reported two new coronavirus-related deaths and 100 additional infections, bringing the state’s totals since the start of the pandemic to 406 fatalities and 25,541 cases.

No further details were immediately available on the latest deaths on Oahu.

The state’s official coronavirus-related death toll includes 324 fatalities on Oahu, 53 on Hawaii island, 25 on Maui, one on Kauai, and three Hawaii residents who died on the mainland.

The U.S. coronavirus-related death toll was more than 430,000 today.

Today’s new statewide infection cases reported by the Health Department include 65 on Oahu, 21 on Maui, seven on the Big Island, one on Lanai, and six residents diagnosed outside of Hawaii, officials said. As a result of updated information, one case diagnosed outside the state was removed from the counts.

The statistics released today 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 20,707 on Oahu, 2,139 in Hawaii County, 1,682 on Maui, 178 on Kauai, 107 on Lanai and 25 on Molokai. There are also 703 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

Health officials also said today that of the state’s total infection count, 1,539 cases were considered to be active. 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 74 today.

By island, Oahu has 1,134 active cases, Maui has 308, the Big Island has 89, Kauai has seven, and Lanai has one, according to the state’s latest tally. Molokai has no active COVID cases.

Health officials counted 5,072 new COVID-19 test results in today’s tally, for a 1.97% statewide positivity rate. The state’s 7-day average positivity rate is 2.5%, according to the Hawaii COVID-19 Data dashboard.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii infection cases, 1,684 have required hospitalization, with 11 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 1,680 hospitalizations within the state, 1,474 have been on Oahu, 98 on Maui, 95 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 80 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of Wednesday morning, with 22 in intensive care units and 25 on ventilators.

Health officials said that as of Sunday, 106,654 vaccines have been administered of the 170,975 received by the state. The administered vaccinations by county are Honolulu, 68,521; Maui, 11,060; Hawaii, 10,459 and Kauai, 8,799. The total also included several thousand administered under the federal pharmacy program. State officials release the verified updated vaccination numbers each Wednesday.

According to Hawaii Pacific Health as of Wednesday evening, a total of 15,709 vaccinations have been administered at the Pier 2 vaccination center in downtown Honolulu. Of the total, 9,054 were individuals over the age of 75 while 6,655 were those identified in priority groups such as health care workers, caregivers of those over the age of 75, first responders, and other frontline essential workers, according to a news release issued today.

>> RELATED: Only half of Hawaii residents surveyed plan to take COVID-19 vaccine

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 82 and the seven-day average positivity rate is 3.0%, according to Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi.

Blangiardi has said 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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