COVID-19 cases in North Kohala on Hawaiʻi Island have been steadily rising
COVID-19 cases in North Kohala on Hawaiʻi Island have been steadily rising over the past month with 200 cases reported in Kapaʻau and Hāwī in the last two weeks.
The state Department of Education is also reporting more than two dozen cases among public school students and staff at Kohala Elementary, Middle and High schools.
Those numbers may pale in comparison to other communities in Hawaiʻi County, but a coronavirus outbreak in North Kohala could severely strain the limited resources of the 28-bed local hospital.
Gino Amar, Administrator of the Kohala Hospital, says he’s been monitoring the spread of the omicron variant after local residents were hit hard by the delta surge last fall.
"We already knew that the spread was going to be bad, you know, because of the variant, the omicron variant. We also know that there’s multigenerational homes here, yeah? And not only that, we had some superspreader events, gatherings, weddings, It’s those events, the superspreader events, and not following guidelines like mask-wearing or keeping social distance," Amar said.
Amar says there are currently no COVID-19 cases at the hospital, but he plans to ramp up COVID-19 testing of his employees from once a week to twice a week – to prevent the spread of the virus.
Hawaiʻi Island as a whole reported 142 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. The state reports 66% of the island is fully vaccinated.
Find information on vaccine and testing sites at hawaiicovid19.com.
HPR's Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi also spoke with The Conversation about the latest COVID numbers. Listen below.