Big Island Coronavirus Updates

COVID-19 cases on the rise in Hawai‘i

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Just when you think it’s safe to go back into the grocery store, department store, restaurant, etc., etc., etc., of course a nasty respiratory illness has to come along and complicate your plans.

The culprit this time? You might have guessed it: COVID-19.

Yes, the scourge that made everyone’s lives that much more difficult beginning in 2020 is again on the rise in Hawai‘i.

Graphic from the Hawai‘i Department of Health Disease Outbreak Control Division COVID-19 website.

COVID-19 is at the yellow, or medium activity level, meaning the virus is circulating at higher levels throughout the state than would be expected based on historic trends, and continuing to increase.

In Hawai‘i County, there were 129 new cases reported the week of May 14-20, the most recent data available. The Big Island is seeing a weekly average of 14 new cases a day.


The state saw an additional 659 new COVID cases reported the same week, with an weekly average of 71 new cases a day.

Case numbers are still updated once a week.

A rundown of the other counties for the week of May 14-20 shows:

  • City and County of Honolulu (O‘ahu): 449 new cases, weekly average of 47 new cases a day.
  • Maui County: 47 new cases, weekly average of 6 new cases a day.
  • Kaua‘i County: 34 new cases, weekly average of 5 new cases a day.

Cases of the flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, remain at green statewide, or low activity levels.


Overall acute respiratory disease is at the medium level throughout the islands.

The latest levels of respiratory diseases and levels of infection come from the state’s new Repiratory Disease Dashboard.

The website was developed by the state Health Department’s Disease Outbreak Control Division and provides an at-a-glance snapshot of respiratory disease activity statewide, including COVID-19.

The dashboard addresses not only COVID-19 but other acute respiratory illnesses such as influenza, or the flu, and RSV. Respiratory diseases occur year-round in the islands.


“The new Respiratory Disease Dashboard provides, in one place, a summary of what is happening with several major respiratory viruses that contribute to respiratory disease in Hawai‘i,” said State Epidemiologist Sarah Kemble “This helps people make informed decisions about their health.”

Graphic from the Hawai‘i Department of Health Disease Outbreak Control Division COVID-19 website.

The dashboard shows that COVID testing positivity is higher than expected and climbing, Kemble added, with emergency room visits and hospital admissions increasing.

“Based on this information, I would recommend checking whether you’ve had the 2023-24 COVID-19 vaccine, and if not, or if you’re eligible for a repeat dose, go get it today,” she said.

Dashboard trends show COVID remains a health concern, and the public should take reasonable precautions to avoid getting sick. Among them:

  1. Stay up to date on COVID vaccines.
  2.  Stay home if you’re feeling sick and return to usual activities only if fever-free for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medicines, and symptoms are improving.
  3. Wearing a mask when you are indoors with other people helps protect you and those around you. Wearing a mask when you have or are recovering from COVID symptoms is particularly important to prevent spreading the illness to others.
  4. Take a COVID test if you have symptoms and might need treatment. Many respiratory viruses have similar symptoms, but treatments differ. Antiviral treatments for COVID and influenza can prevent hospitalization and death. Treatments work best when taken as soon as possible after symptoms begin.

Additional strategies for reducing the spread of COVID and other respiratory disease can be found on the state Health Department’s website.

You can visit the new Respiratory Disease Dashboard here.

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