Demand for vaccinations are up as COVID-19 cases surge in Hawaii County

Coronavirus

HILO, HAWAII (KHON2) — Hawaii COVID-19 cases are on the rise, but the demand for vaccinations is also increasing.

Hawaii County has been hit especially hard with a 228% increase in cases in the last two weeks, according to the state Department of Health (DOH).

This week alone, their test positivity rate soared to 7.1% — the highest in the state.

Hawaii COVID-19 Healthcare Liaison Lt. Gov. Josh Green said they’re in “the danger zone.”

“Anything over 5%, we start getting worried,” Green explained. “And at our peak, we peaked at 12%. That’s when COVID was rampant last summer. So 7% is a dangerous number.”

There have been 349 positive cases in the last two weeks spread out across the Big Island, but Waimea (54), Hilo (94) and Kailua-Kona (101) have the most.

Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said he’s “very concerned.”

“But what we’re seeing is most of the people who are going to our hospitals, about 97% are unvaccinated,” Roth said.

“The Delta variant is so infectious that it spreads quickly through communities, especially people living in multi generational households. It’s very risky,” Green explained. “We’re seeing an uptick in our hospitalizations, too. We are at 102 people in the hospital now. It was 45 to 50, just two weeks ago.”

The good news is the rise in COVID-19 cases is causing an increased demand for the vaccination.

According to the DOH, there were 300 more vaccinations administered in Hawaii County in the last week.

“Those people who are getting [COVID] now, there’s several reasons,” Roth said. “One is kids are going back to school. One is the Delta variant. One is the science.”

Fourteen-year-old Samuel Mwarui, who will start his freshman year at Hilo High School next week, got his shot Tuesday.

“With the cases that been really going up. It’s pretty scary,” said Samuel’s mother, Achunsion Mwarui. “Especially with him because he’s playing sports, and he goes out there and he meets other kids. So now that he’s been vaccinated, we feel safe now.”

DOH spokesperson Brooks Baehr said the demand for the vaccine is slightly up statewide.

“We have, in each of the past three weeks, administered more than 16,000 shots in each of those weeks, and last week was almost 17,000 shots,” Brooks said.

“I think people are becoming aware that the COVID virus, the Delta variant, is really a threat,” Green explained. “But it’s not going up quickly enough.”

There are a number of locations on the Big island administering vaccinations including:

The Arc of Hilo (Pfizer)
1099 Waianuenue Avenue
Walk-In: Weekdays, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Scheduled Appointments here: Weekdays, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Available until August 13.

Hilo Medical Center Lobby (Johnson & Johnson)
1190 Waianuenue Avenue
Walk-In: Weekdays, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Available until mid-August.

East Hawaii Health Clinic Keaau (Johnson & Johnson)
16-523 Keaau-Pahoa Road | Keaau, HI 96749
Walk-In: Daily, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Call 808-932-3830.

Ka`u Hospital Rural Health Clinic (Moderna)
1 Kamani Street | Pahala, HI 96777
Schedule an appointment by calling 808-932-4205.
Appointments available Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Kauai is deploying a mobile vaccination van starting Saturday, July 31, offering Johnson & Johnson shots to adults 18 and over. Free shirts will also be given to those who receive vaccinations from the mobile vaccination van.

Vaccination clinics on Oahu can be found by clicking here.

The vaccination van will not have designated locations but will target gatherings, community functions, and various places where people are gathered. Businesses, communities, and individuals can make a request for a mobile vaccine by calling the Kaua’i District Health Office on weekdays, from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 241-3495.

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