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More COVID-19 cases reported as Hawaii aims for 60% full vaccination rate

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Roughly two out of every five Hawaii residents are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, leaving themselves exposed to the highly contagious delta variant found on all the major islands.

The state Department of Health reported on Saturday two new coronavirus-related deaths, and statewide cases rose by 68.4%, with 64 new cases, up from 38 the day before. Just in the last 14 days, 562 cases were reported.

The increase is occurring just as the state is poised to loosen travel and indoor and outdoor gathering restrictions on July 8 when the statewide full vaccination rate is expected to reach 60%.

The percentage of fully vaccinated residents is creeping up, and was at 57.2%, the Health Department reported Saturday, with an additional 3,973 doses administered for a total of 1,665,945 doses.

STATE HEALTH officials continue to plead with and coax the 43% unvaccinated population to get the shot before the delta variant gets a foothold in Hawaii since Hawaii is seeing community spread as travelers, including returning residents, unwittingly carry it to the Aloha State.

In one breakthrough case, a vaccinated Oahu resident contracted the delta variant in early May while in Nevada, but had a negative COVID-19 test before flying back, the Health Department reported. A total of 13 cases have been reported — nine on Oahu, two on Maui and one each on Kauai and Hawaii island.

Also genome sequencing conducted three weeks ago by the Health Department suggests community spread of the delta variant, and health officials say it will become the dominant variant in Hawaii within a month. The sampling of 45 cases showed a fifth of them were infected with the variant.

Kids under age 12 are ineligible to get the shot until the fall. Those with weakened immune systems include those undergoing cancer treatment and dialysis, those with diabetes and kidney disease, smokers, those who have had organ or bone marrow transplants and those on prolonged use of corticosteroids.

IN THE U.S., the variant has doubled in two weeks, and affects one in five. The variant, which originated in India, is quickly rising among largely unvaccinated populations. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns it will likely become the dominant variant in the U.S.

Today the Hawaii Pacific Health COVID-19 Vax Squad bus is scheduled to be parked at the main entrance in front of the ticket booths at the Aloha Stadium. The Vax Squad will offer free vaccinations from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Vax Squad gave free vaccinations Saturday at the Honolulu Zoo. Those with confirmed appointments received free admission to the zoo, and were eligible to win prizes from gift cards to gym memberships.

The clinic was a partnership between HPH, the city and the Department of Health.

For more information on COVID-19 from the Health Department, including incentives, go to

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