HONOLULU (KHON2) — Molokai had three times more COVID cases in the last two weeks than they did the entire pandemic. Officials are concerned, warning residents that resources are already stretched thin.
In early August, Kaui Kapuni Manera said she thought she had a cold or allergies.
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“I didn’t think it was COVID because I have the same symptoms all the time,” Manera explained. “I get this cough every year, well, almost every year, so the symptoms were familiar.”
She was supposed to have a doctor appointment but called him to cancel it.
“He says, ‘Hmm, I think you’d better go get it tested,’ “she recalled. “I actually told him, ‘I don’t think so because I have this all the time.’ Well, luckily, I did.”
Later that same night, she got her results back, she was positive.
“I was angry, was really, really angry, and really, really concerned because I have my own health issues,” Manera said.
She also thinks she knows who she caught it from.
“I have my suspicions and which made me even sadder,” she said.
What’s more frustrating is she said it could have been prevented.
“I’m not placing any judgment on anybody, but definitely large gatherings can be the melting pot for this virus,” she said. “The reckless, irresponsible behaviors, you know, it’s a small community. The huge parties, graduation, whatever you’re celebrating, I get it. Maybe during COVID that should taper off.”
COVID is ripping through Molokai like wildfire.
Senator Lynn DeCoite is concerned.
“We see our numbers climbing,” DeCoite said. “We see a lot of resources being put up forward, whether it be vaccines or testing.”
In the last two weeks, the tight-knit community with just 6,275 residents had 56 new cases, bringing their total cases since the pandemic started to 138. The island now has a 7.1% positivity rate.
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino confirmed the community spread.
“A particular business on Molokai for which there was a lot of contact with that business, that was a financial institution,” Victorino said. “They’ve done their proper clean up, shut down. They’ve done sanitation so they’re taking care of that.”
The biggest concern is what happens when cases are severe.
“In the rural areas, like ourselves, we have to be really careful because we’re going to be the one waiting in that hallway,” DeCoite explained.
Molokai General is the only hospital on the island. There are only 15 beds there, and resources are limited.
“They’re starting to erect tents in places that is needed and you don’t want to have your loved one be the one on waiting without services,” DeCoite explained.
Currently Molokai General Hospital is not caring for any COVID-19 patients. The facility has a total of 15 beds. We are in the midst of the largest surge we have seen since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and our hospitals across the state are working hard every day to provide patients with access to the care they need. We recognize the situation at Oahu hospitals is dire, and we have done all we can to prepare for the possibility that it may become difficult for us to send any patient – COVID positive or not – to Oahu because of the growing number of COVID patients in all the hospitals in Hawaii. The way to stop this virus, the way to stop people from becoming very sick with this virus, is to get vaccinated. This is how the community can help us open beds at hospitals. The lack of capacity at hospitals on Oahu, due solely to the influx of COVID-positive patients who are mostly unvaccinated, may eventually mean you or your family member will have to wait, maybe days, before you can be transferred for a higher level of care. If you are vaccinated, your odds of being sick enough to be hospitalized are less than 10%. If you are not vaccinated, the odds are not with you. Please wear your mask, socially distance and wash your hands. Don’t wait, please vaccinate. Molokai General Hospital’s P.G. Stevens Clinic has vaccine available. Call 553-3121, ex 1 to make an appointment for vaccination.”Jan Kalanihuia
Molokai General Hospital President
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“If you’re sick, stay home if you don’t know and get tested,” Manera said. “I think you owe it to yourself, to your ohana and to the community.”