Some face coverings might not be enough against omicron

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — COVID infections continue to rise across the state, and new daily case records continue to be reported.

On Sunday, December 26, the state health department reported 2,205 new COVID-infections, the highest daily total since the pandemic began. Oahu reported 1,841 infections with a 13% positivity rate, followed by Maui County with 150 cases (7.4% positivity rate), Hawaii with 118 cases (6.2% positivity rate), and Kauai with 68 cases (6.1% positivity rate).

Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

Doctors of Waikiki have been extremely busy the past few days and said their daily testing is up 200% and they’re reporting a positive case every 20 to 30 minutes.

“I think what people really need to know is that it [omicron] spreads fairly quickly, and it’s very contagious,” explained Dr. Alan Wu of Doctors of Waikiki. “The symptoms tend to be a lot milder, and we’re seeing the majority of the cases, are breakthrough cases right now.”

He said he’s also seeing people who have received a booster test positive as well, “However, they tend to do a lot better, and that’s why the hospitalization rate, although increasing, has not been too dramatic,” he explained.

He said it shows the vaccines are working and preventing people from severe illness and going to the hospital.

He said breakthrough infections are also up because many unvaccinated individuals refuse to get tested.

“You are going to still have a majority of people who are unvaccinated who refuse to test and I bet you that if we tested every single person, the number will be greater than the 2,200 cases we reported today,” Dr. Wu said.

“I do encourage everybody to still get vaccinated and people who think that they already had COVID before and they are not going to catch it again, guess what? I’m seeing people with second COVID infections right now. They had it earlier, they have it again, and we are seeing that,” Dr. Wu continued.

He said people shouldn’t be letting their guard down because they have received two-vaccine doses or an additional booster shot.

“They might not be wearing a mask as properly as they should, and here at Doctors of Waikiki we do see a positive case every 20 to 30 minutes here,” Dr. Wu said.

“Somebody like me, who’s swabbing everybody, how do I keep myself safe? I have my surgical mask, and I wear it properly, I pinch my nose. In addition, we have our face shield on,” he explained of the proper way to protect yourself from omicron.

“That extra layer of barrier protection is so important that I think it helps people to deter COVID,” he continued.

He said people going grocery shopping, dining, or going to the mall to shop, should be wearing an extra layer of protection with a surgical mask and face shield, or have a surgical mask under your cloth face mask.

“The more protection the better, the less chance of transmission, and of course get your booster,” he said.

“If you do have an N95 mask, I will still encourage a face shield right now,” Dr. Wu said.

He said he has people who test positive who are vaccinated and received a booster who said they had a surgical mask and still caught the virus. “If you don’t pinch it correctly, or you have a lot of air pockets on the side, it’s not worn properly; so what’s the best thing to do? Have another layer,” he continued.

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

He’s cautioning everyone to protect themselves the best way they can because the state has weeks to go with this current surge.

Some stores are sold out of N95 masks. Dr. Wu said if you buy them online make sure they have the FDA approval on the back or the ones that are NIOSH approved, are even higher grade and work better.

“Be safe, still go around and do your stuff, but you got to protect yourself,” he said.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

More Hawaii News

More Local News

Trending Stories

Bears could be without 3 coordinators when they host Vikings
February 05 2022 07:53 am