Hawaii’s latest COVID-19 cluster tied to faith-based gatherings

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii State Department of Health released its latest COVID-19 cluster report on Thursday, June 24, with the latest group of cases tied to a faith-based gatherings.

Health officials have investigated a cluster of 13 coronavirus cases in connection with this faith-based retreat and subsequent gathering that took place on the mainland this month.

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To date, eight of 17 attendees from Hawaii have tested positive for the virus. According to DOH, five secondary household cases were also identified; four cases were hospitalized, including one case in hospice care; and only one of the 17 attendees reported being fully vaccinated.

Masks were also not required during the retreat or large gatherings. Several attendees reported they had symptoms before travel or during the trip and before returning to Oahu.

Currently, DOH is investigating a different cluster of 11 cases associated with a place of worship on Kauai. Earlier this month, two unrelated visitors from the mainland tested positive for coronavirus; both of them attended services on the same day and at the same location with overlapping service times. DOH reports that nine more cases have been identified among people who attended these services. No secondary cases have been identified. Seven cases were symptomatic; one case was hospitalized. All cases were unvaccinated.

The Kauai District Health Office has notified approximately 300 families of their potential exposure and provided information about free community testing. Services took place indoors with inconsistent mask use and singing reported, which increases the risk of COVID-19.

Hawaii health officials continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated to slow the spread of the virus. Wearing masks indoors is highly recommended, especially for those unvaccinated. To keep staff and congregations safe during services and events, CDC recommends the following:

  • Correctly and consistently wear a mask indoors
  • Maintain 6-feet of distance between non-household members
  • Avoid indoor spaces with poor ventilation
  • Don’t congregate in common areas
  • Don’t attend services or events when sick
  • Get vaccinated for COVID-19

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