Health officials see disturbing trend in recent spike of COVID-19 cases


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The state saw its biggest ever jump in COVID-19 cases Tuesday, with 41 reported. Thirty-eight of them were on Oahu, two on Kauai, and one on the Big Island. The statewide total is now 1,071, with 255 active cases.

Health officials say they’re starting to see a disturbing trend, but the governor says he’s not ready to roll back on any restrictions that have been lifted.

Gov. David Ige says the surge in cases is manageable. Our healthcare system is still in good shape. But things are constantly changing, and many challenges lie ahead. So he is keeping a close eye on the situation to see if any restrictions need to be put back in place.

“We will be data driven and listen to the recommendations of the experts like Dr. Anderson and Dr. Park. We will continue to involve the mayors and the emergency responders,” said Ige.

The state health director says the current trend is disturbing because there are indications that the disease is circulating more widely.

“We are now seeing more cases without a history of exposure to other known cases or clusters. We have increased surge staffing within the department and are in the process of hiring our newly trained contact tracers,” said DOH Director Dr. Bruce Anderson.

The health department says the latest cases involve people going to parties and going to gyms.The common theme is that they let their guard down by not wearing masks and not social distancing. Officials point out that even though we have the testing and contact tracing capabilities to handle the current case load, it is critical for everyone to keep following the safety protocols.

“We can slow things down with the investigations and the contact tracing but we can’t stop the disease activity if people are not masking, are not physical distancing. It’s a whole community effort,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist.

She adds that people now have a false sense of security about group gatherings. While it is okay to have them, everyone still needs to take some precautions because the coronavirus is still out there. And it’s not going away anytime soon.

“What that means is that even among our friends or family that we haven’t seen in a while and that we aren’t gonna be seeing consistently day in and day out, they’re not part of our bubble, if you will. We need to mask up,” said Park.

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