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Fewer severe cases during this COVID-19 surge compared to delta, omicron

Honolulu EMS

COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations continue to rise in Hawaiʻi, but there’s an important difference from earlier surges.

Healthcare Association of Hawaii President Hilton Raethel said there were 151 COVID patients hospitalized Wednesday across the state, but only 13 of them were in intensive care. As of Thursday, 160 people were hospitalized.

“We only have about 6% of our COVID patients in the ICU. So that’s a very, very important measure of severity, and what that tells us is that even though there’s a lot of infection out there, its impacts on people in terms of hospitalizations — either getting to the hospital or being in an ICU — or the potential for dying is much much lower than it has been, certainly for the delta surge and for the omicron surge as well," Raethel said.

"At the peak of that we had 25% to 30% of our COVID hospitalizations that were in the ICU," he said.

Raethel says about 200 medical workers from the mainland remain in the state to help with an ongoing shortage, in part because many health care workers are testing positive.

He says hospitals are looking to bring in another 100 workers in the next few weeks.

Hospitals were scheduled to meet Thursday to talk about whether they need to return to a no visitor policy.

Hawaiʻi COVID-19 data from the Hawaiʻi Department of Health on May 25, 2022.
Hawaiʻi Department of Health
Hawaiʻi COVID-19 data from the Hawaiʻi Department of Health on May 25, 2022.

This interview aired on The Conversation on May 26, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

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 ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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