Lt. Gov. Josh Green said this morning that the daily coronavirus case counts are at 365 today, slightly lower than the 400s range over the weekend, but that the average positivity rate is at 6%.
Green also said the number of COVID-19 patients in Hawaii hospitals has grown to 150 today, and that about 135, or 90% of them, are unvaccinated. On Friday, there were 117 patients with coronavirus in the hospital, according to the COVID-19 dashboard.
“We’re seeing the huge delta surge post-July Fourth now spread through the community, through mostly community spread,” said Green. “We have over 3,000 active cases and we have 150 of our citizens in the hospitals sick right now. So the case counts go up and then two weeks later the hospital counts follow. That’s what we’re seeing exactly so we have to vaccinate everyone that will be vaccinated or can be vaccinated as a part of our larger plan.”
Green said the number of patients at hospitals is increasing. Although Hawaii has enough capacity at this time, he said it is looking a lot like last summer, when the number of hospitalized surged past 300.
The Queen’s Medical Center and other hospitals have asked for extra support to relieve exhausted nurses and doctors.
“The best way, of course, to deal with this hospital surge is to not have it,” he said. “In other words, to have everyone be vaccinated or wearing masks or not gathering so there’ll be a lot of discussion to bring the heat down in coming weeks. That’s also going to be complicated by having schools open but hopefully we’ll be able to do it.”
Green said some hospitals have already begun to postpone elective surgeries, such as elective cardiac or orthopedic procedures in order to prepare for a higher number of COVID patients.
Although he personally does not support vaccine mandates, Green said he could see the wisdom in asking all health care workers to get vaccinated or submit to weekly or twice weekly COVID tests.
As Green was on Spotlight Hawaii this morning, four of Hawaii’s major hospitals announced COVID vaccine mandates for employees.
Most of the spread has been community spread, according to Green, mostly among unvaccinated individuals, as well as residents traveling to high-risk places like Texas and Las Vegas and opting to quarantine at home instead of pretesting, and spreading the infections to their family members.
He also said it may be time to bring back limits on the size of gatherings to 10 or less, along with post-travel testing for traveling Hawaii residents returning to the state.
“Where COVID is concerned, size definitely does matter, ok, so we have to be very careful with the size of our gatherings,” he said. “We have to do that. If we’re not careful we’re going to just see explosions in these clusters of 25, 30, 50 people and that’s going to be terrible.”
While people are planning first birthdays and weddings, Green said we have to be careful and that the more careful people are, the more likely case counts are to drop.