COVID study: Hawaii is one of the least prepared states for hospital capacity


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The State Health Department confirmed 23 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, July 17.

Twenty cases were on Oahu, two on Hawaii island, and one resident was diagnosed out of state, bringing the statewide total to 1,334.

Meanwhile, the effort continues to identify and isolate new cases within a growing cluster at Pearl City Nursing Home.

The facility said all staff and residents were tested for a third time on Friday after an employee tested positive there last week.

In a statement, the Pearl City Nursing Home owner said:

“We are undergoing our third round of testing of all staff and residents today. Our second test, which occurred earlier in the week, revealed one more staff member who converted and a few more residents. The results were delayed a bit, so we were not able to immediately isolate everyone until we were notified of the results. Once we had the results, we were able to isolate the newly positive residents in the Red Zone and the staff was notified not to come in to work. There were no real “surprises” with the results as the newly positive residents were in consistent close proximity of the original group prior to being tested.

You may have seen or heard on the news about the transfer of residents out to acute facilities. This is not due to any symptomatic distress that occurred with the residents. In consultation with Dr. Miscovich and our Medical Director, we felt it was an appropriate decision to make to ensure the continuity of care. The safety of our staff and residents is a priority. Families trust us with their loved ones, and when we feel the resident can be better served in a different setting, they also trust us to make the right decision. All families were notified and consulted prior to the transfer of the residents.

Again, we thank everyone for their support, encouragement, and understanding during these times. Stay safe.”

Pearl City Nursing Home management

As case numbers continue to grow, a nationwide study looked at CDC data, current hospitalizations, and each state’s health care capacity to treat COVID-19 patients.

States with the highest rankings were considered ‘least prepared’ for hospital capacity. Hawaii ranked fifth in the study.

Since July 1, Hawaii has had 421 confirmed cases, compared to 96 cases from June 1 to June 17.

“In truth, we have the lowest use of our ICU, the lowest use of our ventilators, we’re now only at 9% use but we only have 459 ventilators in the whole state and 244 ICU beds in the whole state,” explained Lt. Governor Dr. Josh Green. “Although we’re doing better than any other state as a percentage, if we suddenly had a surge of 300 to 500 serious cases we would be in deep trouble.”

To date, 139 COVID patients have required hospitalization in Hawaii. Of that, 39 are currently in a hospital.

“It’s a very low number of individuals in the hospital, low numbers in the ICU’s. There’s less than a handful, although there have been a handful of individuals who have gone from nursing homes over to our facilities,” said Lt. Gov. Green.

“The follow-up to the surge that happened over the last two weeks which was about 400 people in the past two weeks, easily 10% of those individuals end up in the hospital or getting care,” he said.

“The best treatment for this problem is wearing masks and socially distancing,” Lt. Gov. Green said.

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