The first known coronavirus-related death of a City and County of Honolulu worker was recorded this week, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced today on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii livestream show.
It is unclear if the employee was vaccinated and Blangiardi would not reveal any further details about the individual.
Blangiardi stressed the need for continued precautions, vaccinations and vigilance as today marked the deadliest day of the pandemic in Hawaii since the outbreak began last year in March.
Since March 20, 2020 through Aug. 26, 2021, 366 city employees have tested positive for COVID-19. There have been 87 positive cases this month from Aug. 1 through Friday morning.
“The City is extremely sad to report the recent passing of one of our employees after contracting COVID-19. Contact tracing confirmed the transmission occurred outside of work and no coworkers at the City were exposed. As with all COVID-19 positive employees, our City doctors had been in communication with the employee. Our thoughts are with the family, loved ones and coworkers of the employee,” said Blangiardi in a statement to the Star-Advertiser. “As we share in their grief, we reiterate our commitment to fighting this pandemic and will continue to strengthen our efforts in ensuring the safety, health and welfare of our employees and our community.”
Hawaii State Department of Health officials today reported nine new coronavirus-related deaths and 1,035 new confirmed and probable infections statewide.
Today’s numbers mark the highest single-day totals for new confirmed and probable infections and coronavirus-related deaths. The previous recorded high was 1,167 infections reported on Aug. 13, however, that included data from multiple days due to a service interruption in the state’s electronic lab reporting system. Today’s counts did not include lab testing delays.
All of the latest deaths were on Oahu and involved patients with underlying conditions, according to state health officials. State health officials have said the majority of the infections have been among Hawaii’s unvaccinated which makes up about 37% of the state’s population.
During Spotlight Hawaii, Blangiardi said only 49 county employees refused to accept the vaccine. He is curious about the number of workers who applied for a religious or medical exemption. Any worker who is granted an exemption will be tested weekly, according to Blangiardi.
The city planned to release vaccination statistics for county workers Aug. 25, but the Department of Human Resources is vetting the applications for exemptions and confirming information submitted by workers through a digital attestation form.
Blangiardi told the Star-Advertiser his team is working through the weekend to pull together an accurate statistical picture of the number of vaccinated and unvaccinated workers.
On Monday, Blangiardi said about 94.1% of the county’s 10,877 workers were vaccinated, leaving about 642 workers unvaccinated.
The deadline for county workers to get vaccinated or face disciplinary action, including termination, passed Aug.23.
“Our message has not changed,” said Blangiardi. “We encourage everyone to get vaccinated. That is our objective.”
The city is taking stock of their inoculated staff after the state announced Tuesday that 87.6% of state workers were fully vaccinated and 92.4% had received at least one shot. The Department of Human Resources Development said the vaccination rates apply to 14,000 state employees and do not include workers at the Hawaii Department of Education and the University of Hawaii.
The vaccination rates for state workers are higher than Hawaii’s overall population, in which 76% of adults are fully vaccinated.