HONOLULU (KHON2) — Could Hawaii be seeing an uptick in COVID cases after the indoor mask mandate was dropped?

Every Wednesday at 9 a.m. the Hawaii Department of Health releases their COVID metrics by state and county showing the current trends. 

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As of Tuesday April 12, the state of Hawaii has an average positivity rate of 4% with a daily average case rate of 148. 

Brooks Baehr with Hawaii Department of Health said the 7-day average the previous Wednesday was 129 and the 7-day average before that was 87.

“You can see we have been on a gradual upward trend for the past three weeks,” said Baehr. “It will be very interesting to see the new number tomorrow.  Will we continue to see an increase in case counts?  Will the trend reverse?  Have we hit a plateau?”

Hawaii currently has one of the lowest case rates in the country, some say that is thanks to the strict COVID guidelines that stayed in place throughout the delta and omicron surge. 

States like California, Florida and Arizona are among the states that have noticed a slight increase in COVID cases during spring break and some are wondering if Hawaii is next?

“We believe there are several reasons for the gradual increase in daily case counts,” said Baehr. “They include the end of the indoor mask mandate, the end of the Safe Travels program, spring break, and the growing prevalence of the BA.2 variant.”

Baehr said the BA.2 accounted for around 40% of the cases in Hawaii and they expect a new Variant Report as soon as Wednesday afternoon.  He expects that number will either grow substantially or even double. 

“We are still in a pretty good place, but we are monitoring the trend closely,” said Baehr. “Masks still reduce transmission, especially indoors and in large crowds.  We advise seniors over the age of 65 and those with underlying conditions to get their second booster shot when eligible.”

Get more coronavirus news: COVID vaccines, boosters and Safe Travels information

On Wednesday, April 13, at 9 a.m. the Hawaii Department of Health will release the new COVID numbers for the state and county.