HONOLULU (KHON2) — Another increase into triple-digit COVID-19 cases across the state was reported on Sunday, May 16.

Health officials also reported one new death; an Oahu woman over 70 who had been hospitalized with underlying conditions.

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Molokai has had 19 cases in the last week. Lieutenant Governor Josh Green says that rural areas are ripe for spread due to vaccine hesitancy.

“Where I was a doctor in Kau, definitely in the very rural parts of Maui, Kauai and Molokai, we see some pockets of people that would prefer not to be vaccinated, and they can end up having an outbreak,” Lt. Gov. Green said.

About 1.5 million vaccine doses have now been administered across the islands.

“That’ll be about 750,000 people in the state fully vaccinated,” Lt. Gov. Green said. “We’re getting close to the point where we can say we’re safe, but until we have about a million people vaccinated, I think we’re going to still see some outbreaks and mini surges here and there.”

The more people vaccinated, the less of a chance for breakthrough cases. Green says right now there are only 49 COVID-19 patients in Hawaii’s hospitals.

“It’s the hospitalization and critical illness you want to avoid,” Green said. “And then also the Long COVID concern I have. I have known a lot of people that did not die of COVID but have had significant problems with thinking clearly, with aches and pains that they’ve not been able to escape, extreme fatigue. That’s about 30% or so of people who’ve had COVID. It’s not a small number. That’s probably 10,000 Hawaii residents.”

The next phase of vaccinations could include kids age five to 11 if Pfizer’s clinical trials go according to plan. Green says emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration could come as early as next month.

“They’re still doing that study. They’re being very careful of course. With our keiki, that’s what we care about most, but that’s coming,”

For now, Lt. Gov. Green is happy with the response for those 12 to 15 years of age, who were made eligible last week.

“For those teens out there, I’m really proud of you for leading the way and and when adults said you weren’t gonna get vaccinated and you did anyway and you took it upon yourselves to jump into this in the first weekend. That was just great. You really are. You know, you’re great citizens,” Green said.