Large indoor gatherings being discussed as COVID clusters continue

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The omicron variant has now raced ahead of other variants, becoming the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S. that’s according to federal health officials who say omicron accounts for 73% of new infections last week.

The news comes nearly four weeks after the World Health Organization first named the variant and just three weeks after U.S. designated it as a variant of concern.

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There were 840 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths reported in Hawaii on Monday, Dec. 20. The state is currently at 73.5% fully vaccinated. Hospitalizations are creeping up.

Gov. David Ige says large indoor gatherings are being discussed after multiple clusters have been reported and investigated by the state health department.

On Sunday the DOH said 30 COVID cases were linked to The Republik nightclub. All attendees were required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken 48 hours before. They believe about 2,000 people attended on Dec. 10 and Dec. 11.


Ige said he spoke with county mayors about large gatherings Monday morning, but didn’t say if he was leaning towards restricting indoor events.

“Having an event with people in close proximity even though they are vaccinated or tested, does increase the possibility of getting infected with the virus,” said Gov. Ige. “It has significantly increased the numbers that we’re seeing.”

“We are questioning do we need to dial back large gatherings, especially those that are indoors,” said Hilton Raethel, Healthcare Association of Hawaii.

Hospitalizations are on the rise. The state has just below 60 COVID patients in beds.

“It has jumped about 20 patients a day since the end of last week,” added Raethel.

He says omicron is very contagious and people vaccinated can get infected. He says vaccinated hospital patients are still spending less time hospitalized than the unvaccinated, but there is a concern with bed availability.

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“We’re very concerned about its ability to spread very, very rapidly, and one of our concerns is, if it gets into the healthcare population,” explained Raethel.

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