Hawai‘i Sees Zero New COVID-19 Cases Today
Hawai‘i Department of Health reports zero COVID-19 cases for the first time since March. While this is good news, officials stress that it does not mean the end of the coronavirus crisis.
The number of statewide cases remains at 629 with 566 recovered and released from isolation. With 74 individuals on the Big Island found with the coronavirus, all but two have recovered and been released from isolation.
“We have seen a steady decline in new cases over the past several weeks, although today we’re at zero, we want to maintain these declines,” Hawai‘i State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said. “As businesses reopen, as people become more active and travel more freely, we will inevitably see an increase in cases.”
DOH began identifying new positive cases of the coronavirus on Feb. 28, 2020. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 breakout to be a pandemic.
For the past several weeks, countries across the world have worked to combat this deadly virus, with more than 259,000 deaths worldwide. Here in Hawai‘i, there have been 17 deaths.
Testing has been pushed statewide, with over 34,000 people receiving tests. Premier Medical Group has been at the forefront, working with counties to set up drive-through screening and testing sites.
A clinic is happening today on the Big Island at Waimea District Park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. An added antibody testing will be offered with a charge. The basic test remains free.
While zero new cases is good news, health experts say, it is now a time to reassess response capacity and preparedness plans to ensure the state is ready for second and potentially larger wave of the disease. Of particular concern is Hawai‘i residents resuming travel to the mainland, particularly to COVID-19 hotspots.
“Travel continues to pose a risk for the spread and reintroduction of the coronavirus. This risk is not just posed by visitors. Residents can actually pose a greater risk by unknowingly infecting others,” Park said. “When people travel for entirely appropriate and necessary reasons (work, healthcare, significant family events) they can inadvertently bring the infection home.”
Park and other health experts say this is why it is critically important for everyone (visitors and residents) to observe the mandatory traveler 14-day self-quarantine.
DOH says the strongest defense against future and rapid increases in COVID-19 cases is dependent on everyone’s consistent observation of safe practices, which include:
- Wear a mask when you are outside your home.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Keep a distance of 6 feet from non-household members.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces often.
- And stay at home when you are sick.