Hawai‘i Coronavirus Curve Not Flattened Yet, Officials Say

April 6, 2020, 5:28 PM HST (Updated April 6, 2020, 5:28 PM)
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Josh Green. PC: State of Hawaii.

The coronavirus curve has not flattened in Hawai‘i despite descending numbers of reported cases over the previous two days.

Saturday saw 34 cases of COVID-19 confirmed, tied for the highest one-day total in Hawai‘i since the pandemic began. On Sunday, the number fell to 20 cases and on Monday, the number of new cases was only 16.

“This is not to be assuming that we are on a downward trend,” Hawai‘i Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson said at a press conference Monday. “Typically on weekends, we see a decrease in the number of cases because reports are not submitted as quickly as during the week. It is encouraging it’s not going the other way at this point in time.”

Social distancing remains paramount, Anderson added, as federal officials report the next two weeks are likely to be the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic for the United States.

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The news about fewer reported cases came alongside an update from Lt. Gov. Josh Green that coronavirus-related hospitalizations statewide are at 56. DOH’s daily update indicated that the number was only 26.

“It’s a rolling count,” said Green, adding that if patients are on ventilators, the average hospital stay might last two weeks or more. He didn’t have a precise total for the number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators but said it was low, with most ventilator use localized to non-coronavirus patients.

It’s a number he said he hopes will remain low, as patients who enter an intensive care unit with COVID-19 have a roughly 50% chance of ending up on a ventilator. If a patient ends up needing the machine, current statistics indicate he or she has around a 50% chance of survival, Green said.

Statewide Hospital Capacity Update as of April 6, 2020

 TotalIn Use%
Hospital Beds2,7571,33148%
ICU Beds33810631.3%
Ventilators5358115%
Individuals hospitalized56  

Testing for the virus continues statewide, with extra capacity focusing on testing first responders.

A medical team has been established in partnership with the Emergency Operations Center to complete COVID-19 testing for critical infrastructure workers, DOH said in a press release.

This team is comprised of healthcare workers from across the state and will immediately activate to test critical infrastructure workers like healthcare providers, EMS, police, firefighters and other others, should they be exposed to a COVID-19 positive case without wearing proper personal protective equipment or develop COVID-19 symptoms themselves.

This team is an essential resource in the fight against COVID-19 because it allows quick identification and isolation of possible cases of Hawaii’s front-line workers, the release said.

Green said, along with the initiative, the state can test residents at a rate of up to 1,500 people per day.

Anderson said upwards of 14,000 tests had been administered statewide as of Monday. He added that new testing instruments are on their way to the state, which may help improve test capacity and turnaround times for results. However, the backlog in demand across the country for the instruments remains considerable.

LABORATORY TESTING DATA

Total Number of Individuals Tested

by Clinical and State Laboratories

PositiveNegative
13,94838513,545

And finally, officials spoke to topics of stress and mental health amid a protracted lockdown, which have led to a spike in domestic violence incidents, Green said.

Individuals needing support can contact the DOH hotline via text at 605-956-5680 or call at 808-531-3371. Hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For assistance outside those hours, individuals can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which is available 24/7, at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). In an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Max Dible
Max Dible is a reporter for Big Island Now. He will also serve in a news capacity for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations. He formerly worked as a community reporter for West Hawai‘i Today in Kailua-Kona from 2016 to 2019. Before that, he was a sports editor, sports reporter and radio talk show personality with the Iowa State Daily and KURE 88.5 FM, respectively, in Ames, Iowa. He's won several regional and national journalism awards, at both the collegiate and professional levels, for breaking news, long-form feature writing and his work as a sports columnist.
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