HONOLULU (KHON2) — The state health department has detected 53 new Delta cases statewide in two weeks.
“It’s gone from 20% of our cases to 40% of our of our cases, in a two-week period,” said Hawaii State Labs Administrator Dr. Edward Desmond.
According to the variant report released on Monday, July 12, 10 of the detected cases belong to a specific version of the “Delta” variant referred to as “Delta+K417N”, containing an additional mutation of interest – the spike K417N mutation. The health department said there were eight cases in Maui County and two in Honolulu County.
The health department said the Delta variant is spreading via community spread and one case was from the inter-county transmission.
Hawaii Island saw the biggest uptick in Delta cases going from one case two weeks ago to 14.
Doctors statewide said they are concerned as hospitalizations, COVID ICU beds, case numbers, and the positivity rate continue to rise.
“Pretty much every patient that we have admitted with COVID pneumonia [at Kaiser], has not been vaccinated,” explained Dr. Sreenandh Krishnagopalan, Chief of Critical Care at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. “A lot of them have also traveled to the mainland recently, so what we’re seeing is people who are not vaccinated, who traveled to a place where the Delta variant is really endemic at this point.”
Over the weekend two Hawaii residents in their 40s died of COVID-19. The health department said both were unvaccinated.
Dr. Krishnagopalan said last month he had no COVID-19 patients in the hospital. Now he has 12 hospitalized patients ranging from 40 to 60 years of age.
“Having all four of these indicators going up, is not a good sign,” explained Healthcare Association of Hawaii CEO Hilton Raethel. “And we believe a significant reason for that is because of the transmissibility of the Delta variant.”
“If you’re in an enclosed space, not outdoors, and any kind of close interaction with people, there’s a very high chance of getting it,” explained Dr. Krishnagopalan.
“The original COVID-19 variant created a worldwide pandemic, as we know,” Raethel said. “The Delta variant is 225% more transmissible than the original variant which created this worldwide pandemic,”
Health officials say the increase in numbers could also be due to fewer restrictions and more travelers and said the vaccine is the best prevention against the Delta variant and ending up in the hospital or dead.