COVID-19 clusters drive the number of cases up


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Seven new COVID-19 cases were reported bringing the total in Hawaii to 1,130, six of the cases are on Oahu and one on the Big Island, health officials say the recent uptick in cases is a result of people letting their guards down.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said the state’s health care system is in good shape and has not been overwhelmed by the coronavirus.

The Director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, Dr. Bruce Anderson, said the rise in cases is troubling.

Anderson refers to many of the newly reported cases as clusters, the DOH is tracing these clusters to various gatherings where they found that safety measures were not followed.

“All of the recent clusters have been associated with people not wearing masks and not practicing social distancing,” Anderson said. “They occurred in workplaces, in gyms and during social gatherings inside and outside.

Anderson said they traced a cluster of nine cases to an indoor gym class where they said members were not practicing social distancing or wearing face coverings.

He said workplaces are also seeing cases, many times people wear a face covering while at work but remove it during lunch break or other interactions with co-workers.

Anderson said at least a dozen cases are connected to a training program by Hawaiian Airlines.

Anderson said, “We had a training program, Hawaiian Airlines conducted this and individuals were not wearing face coverings.”

Lt. Gov. Josh Green believes droplets are still the main driver for the spread of coronavirus. At Monday’s press conference he said face-coverings reduce the chances of transmission while giving a stern warning.

Green said, “People say I hate wearing a mask, try wearing a ventilator.”

Green reminds people outdoors is much safer than gathering indoors.

Green said, “It’s just a lot safer outdoors, outdoor restaurants are safer than indoor restaurants when it’s possible, anything that’s outdoors is safer than indoors.”

Clusters of COVID-19 cases are driving Hawaii’s total count up, but Anderson said people who are not connected to these known cases are also still getting sick.

“What’s troubling is that many of the cases that were newly reported lab results of infections are not associated with current cases or clusters,” Anderson said. “This is an indication that the virus is circulating in our community and spreading particularly here on Oahu.”

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