Oahu sees COVID-19 numbers spike to 125 new cases, mayor warns it could lead to setback in reopening plan


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Department of Health reported 156 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday. The City and County of Honolulu saw a big spike with 125 new cases.

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It is the first time that the City and County of Honolulu has seen more than a hundred COVID-19 cases since the beginning of October.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said in a press conference on Wednesday that if this trend continues, the county, which is currently on Tier 2 of its reopening plan, could revert back to Tier 1.

“Because Tier 1 to move back just means if you have a positivity, a number of cases above the 100 for two weeks and we’re starting the two-week period now, you automatically snap back,” said Mayor Caldwell.

In order to move forward from Tier 2 to Tier 3 in the city’s reopening plan, COVID-19 cases on Oahu must drop below 50 for two weeks.

“We’ve got to do better folks if we want to move to tier three,” said Mayor Caldwell. “Which means instead of 10 people around at your table at home on Thursday of Thanksgiving, you’re down to five … That’s sad, really sad. So, help us, we can still do this. We can bring it down.”

Healthcare Association of Hawaii President Hilton Raethel said the spike is likely due to Oahu moving into Tier 2, and not necessarily from the Halloween weekend. Any impact from the holiday could be reflected this weekend.

“We did anticipate that there would be some impact,” said Raethel. “And so people are getting together and when I say getting together, not necessarily more socially, but just from a work perspective, you know, they’re working together, they’re sharing spaces, interacting with each other.”

Currently, there are about 66 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, but an increase will put a strain on the hospital system.

“Once we get above into the high 100, and into the 200 range, that is when it really stretches our facilities because COVID patients take more nursing care and more clinical care than non COVID patients because you’re dealing with an infectious disease.”

Hilton Raethel, Healthcare Association of Hawaii President

However, Raethel said hospitals are concerned that ICU bed capacity and ventilator usage has gone up the past few weeks from non-COVID-19 related illnesses.

“If the COVID numbers increase, we know that a significant number of those will end up in an ICU or could end up on a ventilator, so this is not a good trend that we’re seeing right now,” said Raethel.

Raethel said they expect the numbers to further increase at the end of the year due to the holidays and travel.

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