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Hawaii sees second case of U.K. variant, 108 new infections

The Department of Health’s State Laboratories Division confirmed Saturday that a second case of the super-spreading COVID-19 strain first discovered in the United Kingdom has been found in another Oahu resident with no history of travel.

Health officials said that the individual is not known to have had contact with the state’s first case with the highly contagious U.K. strain, known as B1.1.7, which was reported Friday.

“The DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division is continuing active investigation of both cases and ensuring that both individuals are isolating, and contacts are in quarantine,” according to a news release.

Hawaii health officials earlier in the week warned that the 60% more contagious U.K. strain could be circulating in the islands, a potential setback in the race to vaccinate as many residents as possible before exposure to new strains.

Nine cases of the Denmark L452R strain were previously discovered in Hawaii, although that variant has not yet shown to spread more quickly or pose greater risk than other mutations.

Also Saturday, the Department of Health reported 108 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the state’s total since the start of the pandemic to 26,393 cases. There were no new coronavirus-related deaths, as the statewide death toll remained at 416.

The new cases include 86 on Oahu, 16 on Maui, one case each on Hawaii island, Kauai and Lanai, and three residents who were diagnosed outside of Hawaii, officials said. As a result of updated information, one case from Oahu was removed from the counts. The data reflects new infection cases reported to the department Thursday.

The state’s official coronavirus-related death toll includes 333 fatalities on Oahu, 53 on Hawaii island, 26 on Maui, one on Kauai and three Hawaii residents who died outside the state.

The total number of coronavirus cases by island since the start of the outbreak are 21,289 on Oahu, 2,188 in Hawaii County, 1,849 on Maui, 179 on Kauai, 109 on Lanai and 25 on Molokai. There were also 754 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

A total of 1,318 cases were considered to be active, down 24 from the previous day.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii infection cases, 1,745 have required hospitalization, with 13 new hospitalizations reported Saturday. According to the latest information from the department’s Hawaii COVID-19 Data dashboard, a total of 64 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of Friday morning, with 17 in intensive care units and 13 on ventilators.

As of Friday, an estimated 189,446 doses of COVID vaccines had been administered statewide, according to the DOH.

Saturday’s seven-day average case count for Oahu was 61 and the seven-day average positivity rate was 2.4%, according to Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. To move to the less-restrictive Tier 3 from the current Tier 2, the seven-day average of new cases must be below 50 on two consecutive Wednesdays and the positivity rate must be below 2.5%.

In its weekly report, the Department of Education announced 23 new COVID cases among students, staff and service providers. The cases include three students, an employee and a service provider in the Aiea-Moanalua-Radford complex; four students, two from the same household, and two employees in the Leilehua-Mililani- Waialua complex; a student and an employee in the Campbell-Kapolei complex; a student in the Pearl City-Waipahu complex; two students from the same household in the Castle- Kahuku complex; two employees in the Kailua- Kalaheo complex; two students in the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui complex; an employee in the Hana-Lahainaluna- Lanai-Molokai complex; an employee in the Honokaa-Kealakehe- Kohala-Konawaena complex; and a student in the Kaimuki-McKinley- Roosevelt complex who has not been on campus all year.

All told, the DOE has reported 497 coronavirus cases since June 26.

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