Updated: 10/14/2020, 12:55 p.m.
The state Department of Health today reported 10 deaths and 101 new COVID-19 cases. The latest case count returns the daily infections to triple digits. The number brings the statewide total of coronavirus cases to 13,674. The death toll rose to 183.
The department said 7 of the 10 deaths occurred between Aug. 15 and Sept. 30, and are being reported now as a result of updated information on causes of death. One Hawaii Island death and two Honolulu deaths occurred since Oct. 1.
There have now been 12,176 cases on Oahu (81 new cases), 992 on Hawaii Island (18 new cases), 409 for Maui County (1 new case), and 59 on Kauai County (no new cases). Those diagnosed out of state rose by one to 38.
Oahu still leads in number of infections, but Hawaii Island continues to see more COVID-19 cases.
Life Care Center of Hilo has had three resident coronavirus deaths. Three residents are receiving treatment at the Hilo Medical Center, the facility said in an update yesterday. The nursing home reported three more residents have tested positive, bringing the total to 51 cases, 43 of them active. Sixteen staff have tested positive, 12 of them active.
The University of the Nations Kona will undergo another round of student and staff testing today at Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim's request. About 50 student and staff have tested positive at the unaccredited religious-based program, 18 of them active, the school said on its website.
Hospitals expecting a bump in COVID-19 cases as the state reopens
Hawaii medical centers anticipate the state's lifting of the travel quarantine for trans-Pacific passengers will bump up hospitalizations, but they say they can handle it, at least initially.
Hilton Raethel, president of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii that represents hospitals, gave that assessment yesterday after a briefing before state House health committees.
"We anticipate that ... approximately 30 days to 40 days after the opening of the trans-Pacific travel, there’ll be somewhere, maybe, between 50 and 100 additional hospitalizations," Raethel said.
He based the projections on the numbers of visitors coming, the potential infections that will slip through the 72-hour, pre-flight test, and the impact on local residents who will be interacting with tourists as staff in hotels and restaurants, as examples.
Raethel said the hospitalization numbers could increase dramatically depending on the number of arriving flights and as the state enters 2021.
At this point, he said, hospitals can accommodate the added load.
In his daily Instagram update yesterday, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said 109 people were hospitalized with COVID, 26 in intensive care units and 14 on ventilators.
Governor ramps up contact tracing for reopening
Gov. David Ige's latest emergency proclamation leaves the 14-mandatory travel quarantine in place but allows passengers who test negative for the coronavirus to bypass the requirement.
About 200 contact tracers will help the state Department of Health track down any infections tied to travelers, he said in a statement. The state is also using $3 million in CARES Act funds for tests and testing machines.
"This means we will have hundreds of thousands of additional tests we can use to manage the virus in oir ommunity as we resume economic activity and school re-openings," he said.
The state's troubled contract tracing program has stabilized under new leadership, added to better communication with impacted communities. But it took months for the Ige administration to beef up the workforce and improve contract tracing, considered key to keeping infections under control.