Officials warn COVID-19 cases could spike due to Independence Day parties


HONOLULU (KHON2) — There were 24 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, July 4.

There were 19 on Oahu, two on the Big Island, two on Kauai, and one on Maui. Our statewide total now stands just one shy of 1,000 cases. Of the total, 224 are active.

Health officials said that the recent surge–combined with the 4th of July parties and the bad weather–is raising concern for officials who are hoping to prevent another spike.

The 4th of July is a big day for those who plan to get together with pot lucks and beach barbecues.

With new COVID-19 numbers reaching 29 on Friday, July 3, and 24 on Saturday, Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said that attending a party this weekend is concerning.

“If people gather and they’re not wearing a mask, the virus spreads. It’s that simple. So we’re kind of in a little bump and it worries me.”

Lt. Gov. Green said that if it rains, it could make things worse.

“I think that the weather is a risk. I think that the weather is going to force people to go inside their condos, or their houses, and have parties. If they do that and don’t wear masks, we’ll get a lot of spread.”

Lt. Gov. Green said that indoor gatherings are 19 times more likely to spread COVID-19. Being outdoors and social distancing is always safer.

Spreading out wasn’t too difficult at Ala Moana Beach Park. The area, normally wall-to-wall with people, wasn’t as packed as it usually is.

Honolulu resident Robin Gouland said that this is the fifth year he has gone to Ala Moana to celebrate Independence Day.

“It’s way less people,” Gouland said. “Before you’d see group by group next to each other–like two or three feet apart. Now, they’re following the rules. It shouldn’t be a problem.”

The one thing that many weren’t doing was wearing masks, according to Scotty Matthews. But Matthews said that they don’t need them.

“There’s nobody around here with a mask. Look that is much further than six feet apart.”

“Main thing is we stay six feet away from the other party and we should be good,” Gouland explained.

Lt. Gov. Green warned against having a false sense of security, especially if you’re hanging out with people you don’t live with. He said many recent cases are linked to gatherings.

“(COVID-19 cases) appear to be coming in small clusters and families for the most part, and they were mostly on Oahu. Although there were a couple of cases in each of the counties, so no one is being spared. Though, it’s just what you’d expect–we’re picking up one case here, one case there, all connected to someone who was positive.”

Lt. Gov. Green said that the best way to prevent the spread of infection is to wear a mask.

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