The Latest: Lag In Test Results Affecting COVID-19 Numbers; 1 EMS Worker Tests Positive

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The state Department of Health reported 87 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, all on Oahu, following Friday's 123 cases, a record 124 on Thursday, and 109 on Wednesday. But 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, covering Hale‘iwa, Hau‘ula, Kāneʻohe, Lāʻie, Mililani, Wahiawa, Waimānalo, ‘Aiea, Ewa Beach, Honolulu proper, Kailua, Kapolei, Pearl City, Wai‘anae, and Waipahu, among other areas.

 

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 yesterday.

 

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.

 

The Honolulu Fire Department also 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.

Maui County offers small business grants

 

Small businesses can apply for up to $7,500 in grants beginning tomorrow.

 

The Kokua Maui County Small Business Recovery & Relief Fund aims to help businesses impacted by COVID-19.  Local federal credit unions are taking applications. They include Maui County FCU, Valley Isle Community FCU, Kahului FCU, Wailuku FCU and Maui Teachers FCU.

 

Mayor Michael Victorino encouraged small businesses to apply for the funding, which can cover reimbursable business expenses such as rent/lease payments, utility expenses, and safety equipment.

 

Eligible businesses must have a physical business location in Maui County and less than $1 million in annual gross revenue, among other requirements.

 

More information is available at the fund webpage or by calling (808) 270-5745.

 

 

Visitors, Returning Residents Arriving By Hundreds

The Hawaii Tourism Authority says 2,711 people arrived on Friday, including 854 returning residents and 684 visitors.

 

Others arriving include 313 crew members, 226 transiting travelers, 237 military members, 124 travelers exempt from quarantine, and 273 who say they are relocating to Hawaii. Last year at this time, about 35,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily. The state's mandatory 14-day travel quarantine requirement remains in place through Aug. 31. 

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.