The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today kept all four major Hawaii counties classified as orange, high-level communities for COVID-19 impacts.
Honolulu and Maui counties, which have been high-level since May, were joined by Hawaii county in June. Kauai county has moved back and forth between a yellow, medium-level and orange, high-level community, but was bumped back up to the latter in mid-June.
Under CDC guidelines, those living in high-risk communities should wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public and on public transportation, regardless of vaccination status.
The Hawaii Department of Health is reminding the public of the high-level status via social media platforms, and recommending that people wear masks, avoid large gatherings, and stay up-to-date with vaccines ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.
Masks are recommended for anyone over age 65, anyone who is immunocompromised, at high risk, unvaccinated, or a caregiver for others, as well as at indoors around lots of peoples, such as concerts, stores, and medical facilities.
“The CDC characterizes Hawaii as having high community levels of COVID-19 because of the hundreds of people who are testing positive every day AND because of new hospital admissions,” said DOH Director Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Char in a statement. “We are watching closely to see the effects of the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. They seem to be driving cases and hospitalizations up in hot spots around the world.”
Char added, “We’ve reported 30 COVID-19 related deaths in the past two weeks. These deaths are tragic and may have been preventable. Please get up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines and get your children vaccinated now so they are protected before school begins.”
The metrics used by CDC to determine community levels are based on coronavirus case rates per 100,000, new COVID hospital admission rates per 100,000, and percent of hospital beds occupied by patients with COVID.
On Wednesday, average case counts and positivity rates declined, reflecting a continuing, downward trend, according to DOH data. There was an average of 685 cases per day over the past week compared to 832 per day on June 22. The statewide average positivity rate, however, still remained high, at 16.5%.