HONOLULU (KHON2) — After nearly six weeks of high COVID case numbers, the decline in cases is finally being seen.

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The state Department of Health reported that the number of cases has was over 100 for the first time on July 29. In early August, the daily number exceeded 200.

This week, the case numbers have declined. On Thursday, Sept. 10, there were 169 new cases reported.

The seven-day positive case rate is at 3.3 percent.

Health department director Bruce Anderson cites the use of face masks and physical distancing as the reason to why the numbers are going down.

“This didn’t happen by accident or wishful thinking; it has been a collaborative effort. There is evidence the initiatives of the health department in partnership with other organizations such as the Hawai‘i National Guard and the University of Hawaii and the diligence of those in the community to wear their face masks and practice physical distancing are all working to decrease the number of cases in our state,” he said. “We are all doing our part to decrease disease transmission and flatten the curve.”

But just because the numbers are going down, Anderson said that the community should not let their guard down again.

“If there are surges in the future, we can expect them to be smaller and last for a shorter duration because of our system in place to control the spread more rapidly.”

KHON2 asked Anderson what impact the recent Oahu shutdowns had, and he responded, “The impact of the current stay-at-home order will not be fully realized for another two weeks.”

“The Oahu stay-home order is expected to make a significant difference in reducing the number of positive cases in Honolulu but only if everyone takes it seriously,” Anderson said. “The recent spike in cases has resulted largely from high risk businesses opening up too quickly and many letting down their guard.  In addition to reducing gatherings at beaches and parks, the order drives home a clear and concrete message that we all need to be vigilant and have an important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

“Although it is impossible to know the full impact, gatherings at beaches and in parks continue to be a major concern,” Anderson said. “Reports of people gathering at trailheads and elsewhere along mountain trails may have been the reason the county decided to limit hiking activities.”

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