Hawaii sees increased COVID-19 hospitalizations


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Nine of the 33 current COVID-19 patients in hospitals are getting care at Hawaii Pacific Health facilities, it is more than they have admitted in the last couple of months but they assure they can handle the number of patients.

The Executive Vice President and Chief Quality Officer at Hawaii Pacific Health, Dr. Melinda Ashton, said even if they are nowhere near capacity at their medical facilities, people in the community should not take this virus lightly.

Dr. Ashton said, “I think all of the hospitals are seeing more patients than we did when we were experiencing those days of zero cases, back in the good old days. I don’t think we are at a point of being concerned about hospital availability or capacity.”

She said the medical staff at Straub Hospital and other locations never stopped preparing for a surge ever since the pandemic started.

Lack of social distancing and not wearing a face covering are attributed to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Hawaii. Lt. Governor Josh Green said the state is also coming down from a bump in cases connected to the Fourth of July gatherings.

He said more cases mean higher numbers of hospitalized patients.

Green said, “Two-to-three weeks later, when people’s immune systems react to COVID, you see people in the hospitals with more severe symptoms and we have had more accumulations with people in the hospitals.”

So far, 150 people have required hospital care in the state. Green said there are improvements in treatment, doctors are seeing success using convalescent plasma and the antiviral drug Remdesivir to treat some of the sickest patients.

Dr. Ashton said they have reduced the use of ventilators on COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Ashton said, “Initially we had heard it was better to put patients on ventilators more quickly, now we know it is not as good as practice so we are a little slower to put people on ventilators.”

Green gives regular COVID-19 updates on social media, on Monday he said advancements in coronavirus vaccines are promising.

He said, “At least two promising protocols have been in place, they’re now in phase three trials, which means there’s a possibility to get a vaccination by the end of the calendar year.”  

Although Dr. Ashton said distribution and access to a vaccine could still take longer.

Dr. Ashton said, “I think we are going to be in this for a while, even if the good news that’s coming out about vaccine development is all true, it’s still going to take some time.”  

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