The Latest: 87 New Cases; 1 Honolulu EMS, 6 Firefighters Positive; Green: Hospitalizations To Surge

Aug 1, 2020

Updated: 8/1/2020, 3:43 p.m.

 

The state Department of Health reported 87 new COVID-19 cases today, all on Oahu, following yesterday's 123 cases, record 124 on Thursday, and 109 on Wednesday. The state said while the lower number of new cases is encouraging, it also reflects a "significant lag" in testing results because many specimens are sent to the Mainland for processing.

 

The latest count takes the state to 2,197 total cases since March.

 

Out of that total, 1,842 cases are on Oahu, 170 in Maui County, 115 in Hawaii County, and 47 in Kauai County. One case was deducted from Maui's count based on updated information. There have been 23 residents diagnosed outside of the state, 194 people hospitalized and 26 deaths.

 

"Many of the cases reported recently are associated with social gatherings,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson in a news release. Cases have been tied to a yoga class, fire station, funeral events, gyms, bars and training events, among other locations.

 

Workplaces are also seeing cases, including at construction site, hospitals, social service organizations, nursing and care homes, retail establishments, a warehouse and delivery businesses.

 

Household cases have also added to the total after beach parties and gatherings, birthday parties, Father's Day, July 4th gatherings, and religious functions.

 

New Oahu cases have been widely spread, including Hale‘iwa, Hau‘ula, Kāneʻohe, Lāʻie, Mililani, Wahiawa, Waimānalo, ‘Aiea, Ewa Beach, Honolulu proper, Kailua, Kapolei, Pearl City, Wai‘anae, and Waipahu. 

 

 

1 Honolulu EMS worker, 4 more firefighters test positive for COVID-19

 

A Honolulu emergency medical services worker stationed at the Liliha area station tested positive for COVID-19, the city announced today.

 

The worker notified his supervisor immediately after told of the postive result. The worker is in isolation and will return to work once cleared by the state Department of Health.

 

The city's emergency medical services division has treated and transported more than 90 coronavirus patients, the Honolulu Emergency Services Department said in a news release.

 

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, EMS paramedics and EMTs have risked their own and their families safety to continue to provide emergency medical care to our community," said Acting Chief of EMS Chris Sloman. 

 

"We ask the public to continue to social distance, wash your hands and wear a mask. Also please only call EMS for life threatening medical emergencies, while utilizing alternative resources if experiencing flu like symptoms,” Sloman said.

 

Yesterday, the Honolulu Fire Department confirmed that four additional firefighters have become infected with the coronavirus, bringing the total to six who have contracted the virus. Of the latest four, three are from the Hawaii Kai Fire Station and one is from the Moanalua Fire Station.

 

All of the employees have been placed on leave and other Moanalua personnel will self-quarantine.

 

Two earlier cases at Hawaii Kai have also been placed on leave and are self-isolating. All station personnel there were directed to self-quarantine. The fire station, trucks and equipment have been sanitized and disinfected, according to HFD.

 

The department is redistributing its personnel to maintain emergency coverage in the areas affected.

Surge in hospitalizations anticipated after record cases

 

Hawaii should expect a surge in hospitalizations following a third straight day of 100-plus new coronavirus cases,  Lt. Gov. Josh Green warned yesterday. "We're really going through a large surge right now," he said. "Let's get our act together. Let's bring these cases down."

 

In the most recent cases, there are signs that adults are increasingly giving the virus to children. Yesterday's daily count includes 18 pediatric cases, those 18 years old and under, while Thursday's count included 32 pediatric cases.

 

The virus has also disproportionately impacted Pacific Islanders, who now account for 27 percent of all cases while making up just 4 percent of the population.

 

And younger adults age 20 to 39 are the largest group to have become infected, although all but four who died were 60 years and older, according to posted state Department of Health numbers.

 

Asked if the state had missed the mark by targeting an older audience in its messages aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, Gov. David Ige said on Thursday that the demographics of those affected have shifted.

 

He said earlier in the pandemic, those who contracted COVID-19 generally reflected the population at large. But in the last month, that has changed.

 

"The lesson learned is that we need to be cognizant and we are looking at the data and making adjustments on who we are trying to reach," the governor said.

 

He said right after the Memorial Day weekend, the state made an effort to reach out to younger people, who he noted get their information and news from non-traditional sources.

 

"We will continue to look at establishing communication channels to all of those who now make up the bulk of the COVID-19 cases," he said.

 

In his Instagram video, Green urged residents to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people and wear masks at all times outside of their immediate households.

 

One COVID-19 case at residential care home

 

One employee of Hale Kūʻike Bayside tested positive for COVID-19 today, the operator of the the adult residential care home said in a news release.

 

The employee is self-isolating and 24 residents and 42 staff at the facility are being tested, the organization said. All residents and staff will be retested in a week and new admissions have been halted until the home is found free of cases.

 

The organization operates three locations in Nuuanu and Pali as well as Bayside in Kaneohe. Residents and staff in the other locations will be tested today, although the employee only worked at the Kaneohe facility, according to the release.

 

This is a developing story. Please check back for upates. Editor's note: We’d like to hear how you’re coping with the latest COVID-19 developments and the state's phased reopening. You can call our talkback line at 808-792-8217. Or e-mail us at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.