Updated: 4/6/2020, 11:56 a.m.
The state's confirmed and presumed positive coronavirus cases today number 387, up by 16 from yesterday, with one new death, according to the state's latest daily update. The death count is now at five.
Oahu has 292 cases, Maui 44, Big Island 23 and Kauai 17. There are 9 pending investigation and two cases were diagnosed out of state. Twenty-six cases have required hospitalization.
The health department said the number of travel-related cases is dropping and there is greater concern about community spread. Kauai is the only county without community spread and Lanai has no reported cases.
An East Oahu man over 65 years old is the fourth person in Hawaii to die from the coronavirus, state health officials said.
He passed away over the weekend, the health department said. The man may have been exposed to someone who traveled and had been hospitalized, officials said.
The third coronavirus-related death in Hawaiʻi was University of Hawaii botany professor Art Whistler, UH President David Lassner said in a message to university faculty and staff over the weekend.
Whistler was known for his work in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific islands. He appears to have been infected on a trip to Washington state and was hospitalized after his return. His death is the first for the university.
First coronavirus-related death in Maui County
Maui County has recorded its first death from the coronavirus, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said today. According to the state health department, the man was elderly with underlying medical conditions. The case would represent Hawaiiʻs fifth COVID-19 death.
“My heart is heavy with this tragic news,” Victorino said in a news release. “Mrs. Victorino and I offer our deepest condolences to this individual’s family and know that our community will also offer support and love during this difficult time.”
UW researchers reduces Hawaii death projection
A University of Washington research group has cut its estimate for Hawaii deaths from the coronavirus by about half. The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates in its latest projection that the state will see 155 COVID-19 deaths by early August. Thatʻs down from the 374 deaths projected by researchers in late March. The researchers also estimate that the state will see the number of daily deaths in Hawaii peak around mid-April and then begin to decline through late April. The instituteʻs projections have been adjusted as more data worldwide become available on the onset of social distancing policies and daily deaths. The research is among the models cited by the White House in projecting the path that the coronovirus may take as it cuts through the country.
Molokaʻi, Hana face challenges of COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has made its way into two of Hawaiʻi’s most remote and rural communities – Hāna, Maui, and the island of Molokaʻi.
Despite fears over outsiders bringing the virus into these communities, health officials have confirmed that the three positive cases of COVID-19 are, in fact, residents.
The Molokaʻi community is dealing with the fallout after two local grocery store employee tested positive for COVID-19. State Rep. Lynn DeCoite urged residents to take this virus seriously.
"Look at what happened! Now the island is kind of in a panic about oh my god, what we going do, who this?" she said.
Yesterday's update: Hawaii National Guard at airports, Kauai mayor warns quarantine breakers
She said the first case on island was a Molokaʻi man who recently vacationed in Las Vegas before returning to work at the Friendly Market Center in Kaunakakai.
"This was one resident 'kay? I going tell you right now -- this is a resident of Molokaʻi that did not self-quarantine."
Health officials said a day later, a second grocery store employee tested positive for the virus. All 48 employees have been screened and the store temporarily closed for sanitization.
Over in Hāna, state Sen. Kalani English says COVID-19 screening is ramping up after a female resident tested positive for the virus.
"We wanna give reassurances, you know, that we have the supplies, we have the ability to care for people on Maui but we donʻt have the ability in Hāna," he said.
He said medical care and access to supplies are limited on Mauiʻs east end. Should an outbreak hit a town like Hāna, the plan is to fly critically-ill patients out to bigger hospitals.
"Like, I said, weʻre trying to avoid that. And yes, there are plans for that and, you know, we do have a medevac system by helicopter and by plane out of Hāna. So thatʻs in place."
But again, English adds, they are trying to avoid that.
-- HPR's Ku'uwehi Hiraishi
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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