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Latest Surge Slightly Leveling Off, But Hospitals 'Have Yet to See the Worst of It'

emergency room queen's medical center hospital ambulance Virus Outbreak Hawaii Health Care
Caleb Jones/AP
In this Aug. 24, 2021, file photo an ambulance sits outside the emergency room at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)

In the past week, there have been 37 deaths across the state as a result of the surge of the delta variant.

Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble says the new mu variant is one of interest, but not one of concern like the delta variant. The mu strain was first detected in the islands in June.

"The delta variant remains well over 95% of our cases in the state — we're almost exclusively seeing delta right now," Kemble said.

The latest surge in cases appears to be leveling off a bit, but Kemble warns the hospitals are still having a hard time.

"We have to remember that hospitalizations and deaths lag behind and that our hospitals have yet to see the worst of it," Kemble said. "We're still butting our heads up against that upper limit for the hospitals because cases that have already happened are now getting sick enough to come to the hospital."

The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 cases is 702, according to the state's COVID-19 dashboard.

Kemble said the state has to get as close as possible to zero cases to help hospitals respond to the crisis.

"If we could magically stop all new cases today, hospitals still are going to see more to come from what's already taken place," she said.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Sept. 8, 2021.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at
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