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Hawaii coronavirus-related death toll hits 500; remains lowest fatality rate in nation

                                More than 200 empty chairs were placed in front of Central Union Church on All Saints Day, Nov. 1, in memoriam for the people of Hawaii who have died from COVID-19. Hawaii’s virus-related death toll reached 500 today with one new fatality on Oahu.
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More than 200 empty chairs were placed in front of Central Union Church on All Saints Day, Nov. 1, in memoriam for the people of Hawaii who have died from COVID-19. Hawaii’s virus-related death toll reached 500 today with one new fatality on Oahu.

Hawaii’s coronavirus-related death toll hit 500 today with state Department of Health officials reporting one new fatality on Oahu.

At roughly 35 deaths per 100,000 residents, Hawaii’s virus fatality rate remains the lowest in the nation.

The latest fatality was an Oahu woman in her 50s, who was hospitalized and had underlying health conditions, heath officials said.

The state’s official coronavirus-related death toll includes 388 fatalities on Oahu, 54 on Maui, 53 on Hawaii island, two on Kauai, and three Hawaii residents who died outside the state. The U.S. coronavirus-related death toll today is over 594,000 and the nationwide infection tally is more than 33.2 million.

Health officials also reported 122 new confirmed and probable infections statewide today, bringing the state’s total since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to 36,246 cases. More than half of today’s new infections came from the Big Island due to a spike at a prison.

By island today, there were 63 on Hawaii island, 48 new infection cases on Oahu, six on Maui, two on Molokai, and three Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state.

The sharp increase on the Big Island comes after the state Department of Public Safety on Saturday announced mass COVID-19 testing at Hawaii Community Correction Center in Hilo resulted in 61 positive cases, for a total of 71 recent infections at the prison.

The total number of confirmed and probable coronavirus cases by island since the start of the outbreak are 27,107 on Oahu, 4,438 on Maui, 2,949 in Hawaii County, 320 on Kauai, 115 on Lanai and 79 on Molokai. There are also 1,238 Hawaii residents who were diagnosed outside of the state.

State health officials began including probable infections in its total case counts last week. Probable infections include people who never received a confirmatory test but are believed to have had the virus because of their known exposure and symptoms or because of a positive antigen test.

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

Health officials also said today that of the state’s total infection count, 810 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 state’s total number of active cases was unchanged today at 810. However, the Big Island’s active cases rose by 59, while Oahu’s dropped by 53, and Maui and Molokai each saw three fewer active infections.

By island, Oahu has 577 active cases, the Big Island has 129, Maui has 79, Molokai has 17, Kauai has eight, and Lanai has none.

Health officials counted 4,524 new COVID-19 test results in today’s tally, for a 2.6% statewide positivity rate. The state’s 7-day average positivity rate is 1.1%, according to the Hawaii COVID-19 Data dashboard.

The latest Hawaii COVID-19 vaccine summary said that 1,513,894 vaccine doses have been administered through state and federal distribution programs as of Thursday. Health officials say that more than 50% of the state’s population are now fully vaccinated.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii infection cases, 2,237 have required hospitalizations, with three new hospitalizations — two on Oahu and one on Maui — reported today.

Ten hospitalizations in the statewide count are Hawaii residents who were diagnosed and treated outside the state. Of the 2,317 hospitalizations within the state, 1,926 have been on Oahu, 252 on Maui, 124 on the Big Island, nine 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 48 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of Friday, with 10 in intensive care units and five on ventilators.

RELATED: As COVID-19 restrictions ease, Hawaii restaurants struggle to hire workers

Oahu moved into the less-restrictive Tier 3 of the city’s four-tier economic recovery plan on Feb. 25 after being in Tier 2 since Oct. 22. Tier 3 permits social and outdoor recreational gatherings of up to 10 people, and restaurants to seat 10 people at a table. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi on March 11 announced modifications to Tier 3, including allowing bars to reopen under the same conditions as restaurants and extending the curfew until midnight.

Honolulu will remain in Tier 3 of the city’s COVID-19 reopening framework until at least June 3, according to the mayor’s office.

The seven-day average case count for Oahu is 31 and the seven-day average positivity rate is 1.4%, state health officials said today.

Blangiardi said last week that Honolulu should soon be moving to Tier 4.

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