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Hawaii sees single-day record of 655 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 44,617

                                Beachgoers gather on the shores of Waikiki.
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Beachgoers gather on the shores of Waikiki.

Hawaii Department of Health officials reported a record high of 655 new confirmed and probable coronavirus infections today, bringing the state’s total since the start of the pandemic to 44,617 cases.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said today in an Instagram post the highest single-day count was a result of the highly infectious delta variant spreading across the state.

“Let’s go right for the big number: 655 cases today essentially among those who are unvaccinated.” Green said in his Instagram post. “This delta variant is surging through our unvaccinated population.”

State health officials on Monday saw 365 coronavirus infections, followed by 389 new cases on Tuesday and 346 on Wednesday. Last week Friday, the state reported a previous record 622 new infections, followed by 485 on Saturday and 452 on Sunday, the three highest daily counts since the start of the pandemic.

Hawaii Department of Health Director Libby Char urged residents to wear face masks, avoid gathering and get vaccinated.

“We’re seeing widespread community transmission along with clusters in groups of people who are unvaccinated and we’re seeing infections with people who have been in close contact, often indoors, without wearing masks,” she said today at an afternoon press conference with the governor. “This alarming rise in cases will not end on its own.”

With the upward trend in coronavirus cases, Gov. David Ige this afternoon announced a mandate for state and county employees to get vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing.

“The highly contagious delta variant creates a big risk of infection especially for members of our community who are not vaccinated,” Ige said at the press conference. “Based on the current conditions, I must take action to protect public health and avert unmanageable strains on our health care all across the state.”

>> RELATED: VIDEO: Gov. David Ige announces vaccine mandate for state and county workers

Today’s new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 428 new cases on Oahu, 69 on Maui, 131 on Hawaii island, seven on Kauai and 20 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state.

State health officials have been including probable infections in its total case counts. 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.

No new virus-related fatalities were reported today so the statewide COVID-19 death toll remains 538.

The state’s official coronavirus-related death toll includes 413 fatalities on Oahu, 62 on Maui, 58 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 615,000 and the nationwide infection tally is more than 35.3 million.

The total number of confirmed and probable coronavirus cases by island since the start of the outbreak are 32,138 on Oahu, 5,364 on Maui, 4,484 in Hawaii County, 586 on Kauai, 117 on Lanai and 81 on Molokai. There are also 1,847 Hawaii residents who were diagnosed outside of the state.

Today’s probable infections since the start of the pandemic added to the counts today include 975 on Maui, 885 on Oahu, 115 on Hawaii island, 24 on Molokai, six on Kauai, three on Lanai and 69 residents diagnosed outside the state.

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

Health officials also said today that, of the state’s total infection count, 4,391 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 increased today by 403.

By island, Oahu has 2,933 active cases, the Big Island has 920, Maui has 439, Kauai has 97, Lanai has two and Molokai has none.

Health officials counted 8,026 new COVID-19 test results in today’s tally, for a 8.16% statewide positivity rate. The state’s 7-day average positivity rate is 6.9%, according to the Hawaii COVID-19 Data dashboard.

The latest Hawaii COVID-19 vaccine summary says 1,771,301 vaccine doses have been administered through state and federal distribution programs as of Wednesday, up 3,389 from a day earlier. Health officials say that 60.5% of the state’s population is now fully vaccinated, and 67.6% have received at least one dose.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii infection cases, 2,803 have required hospitalizations, with 21 new hospitalizations reported today.

Sixteen hospitalizations in the overall statewide count are Hawaii residents who were diagnosed and treated outside the state. Of the 2,787 hospitalizations within the state, 2,264 have been on Oahu, 324 on Maui, 177 on the Big Island, 16 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 155 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of Wednesday, with 27 in intensive care units and 29 on ventilators.

This breaking news story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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