HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii saw the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in several months with 322 new cases on Thursday, Jan. 7, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to 22,631. There are currently 1,831 active cases.
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
Health officials say, the surge is likely caused by social gatherings over the holidays. They are asking everyone to avoid such gatherings for the next two weeks.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green says, it is especially important for Oahu and Maui residents to avoid any get-togethers as most of the cases from this latest spike are from those two counties. Of the 322 cases, 213 are on Oahu and 56 are on Maui.
State officials say, it is too early to determine where most of the clusters are, but they believe some of the Maui cases are from the Harbor Lights Condominium and the rest are likely from Christmas gatherings.
“I understand that we had significant need to reconnect to loved ones and friends. But now is the time to have a quiet two weeks, bring our case count down, bring our hospital numbers down, be safe going into the vaccination surge,” said Green.
Health officials say, the bigger concern is the trend — which is heading in the wrong direction.
“It is somewhat alarming to know that just two weeks ago today the 14-day average was 128 new cases a day. Today, we’re seeing 155 new cases a day in our 14-day trend,” said Brooks Baehr, spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Health.
He adds that the positivity rate has also gone up from 2.7% to 3.5%. The trend is also putting more people in the hospitals. Green says, that number has gone up 77% over the last two weeks.
“If we continue along this trend, it will get very tough on our healthcare workers, and I’m worried about that. It will get even more tough on our kupuna who are in the hospital,” said Green.
He says, he does not think it is necessary for Oahu to go back to Tier 1, which would mean more restrictions. He has reached out to Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi to let him know that it is something to watch closely.
The mayor released a statement saying, “While today’s bump in cases is concerning, I’m confident that we will be able to move forward in a way that is calculated and based on science… it’s what we do now that will determine how devastating an impact this will have on our island in the weeks and months to come.”