Big Island Coronavirus Updates

State: COVID Reinfection Rate Rising

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COVID-19 reinfections are on the rise.

The state Department of Health said Wednesday morning that the percentage of COVID cases involving people who previously were infected is growing and now accounts for about 10% of new confirmed cases.

“The data on reinfections underscores what we have been saying; that limited immunity from previous infection only lasts so long,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble said in a press release. “Regardless of whether a person has had COVID-19 in the past, they should stay up to date on their vaccinations and boosters to get increased protection from severe illness and hospitalization.”

There have been 10,995 reinfections throughout the state since September 2020, when the first reinfection was recorded. The 10,995 reinfections represent 3.09% of Hawai‘i’s total number of cases.


“Reinfections were rare early in the pandemic. Reinfection statistics were relatively insignificant,” Kemble said in the press release. “However, the percentage of COVID-19 cases involving people who have had prior infection has increased over time. Reinfections now account for about 10% of all new COVID-19 cases in Hawai‘i.”

Adding the 10,995 reinfections to the 344,964 cases involving unique individuals brings the state’s total case count as of Wednesday to 355,959. Going forward, reinfections will be counted in the seven-day average daily case count. This will result in higher average daily case counts compared with the previous data reporting method.

Until now, the total COVID case count displayed on the state’s dashboard represented the number of unique individuals who tested positive and were reported to the Health Department. A person who tested positive multiple times was counted once.


The updated total case count published on the data dashboard Wednesday includes every confirmed positive case reported to the state since the first reinfection was recorded in 2020 as long as the second case happened at least 90-days after the first. Multiple positive tests within a 90-day period are counted only once.

For more information about reinfections, click here.

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