HONOLULU (KHON2) — COVID deaths are still coming in at an alarming rate on the islands.
The Hawaii Department of Health reported 14 deaths this week, as the state has averaged 50 deaths per month since May. That month, 56 people died of the virus. In June, 51 people succumbed to COVID, while 43 died in July. COVID deaths are determined by physicians or pathologists at the medical examiner’s office and reported to the HDOH.
“If you look back the last couple of weeks, just today we reported another 14 COVID related deaths. Last week there were 21 COVID related deaths reported and the week before we reported 23 COVID related deaths, so the numbers are still alarming,” HDOH spokesperson Brooks Baher said.
Of the latest 14 deaths reported, 12 were men. One was between 40 and 45 years of age, while the rest were over 60 years old.
“About 90% of the COVID are related deaths throughout the pandemic have been of people who are 50 and older. Well, everyone 50 and older right now is eligible for a second COVID booster yet only 29.6% of people have taken advantage of the opportunity to get that second booster,” Baher said.
No word yet on when people under 50 will be eligible.
For those who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID at all, the HDOH announced a new option available Wednesday, Novavax.
“A lot of people consider Novavax a more traditional vaccine because it is made with technology called protein subunit vaccine, Baher said. “This is vaccine technology that has been around for more than 30 years and is used for vaccinating people against things like hepatitis b, whooping cough and the flu,” said Baher.
The HDOH also recommends folks not wait for an Omicron or BA.4 or BA.5 specific vaccine to get their second booster if they’re eligible.
“Don’t wait for that to come around. We don’t know who is going to be eligible. We don’t know just how soon that vaccine is gonna come. To tell you the truth. We don’t know just how effective that vaccine will be yet,” Baher said.
There are also therapeutics like Paxlovid that you can take early on if you test positive.
“Act quickly, because you’ve got to start these therapeutics within five days. of experiencing symptoms,” Baher said.
Check out what’s going on around the nation on our National News page
Many people who don’t think they qualify to take therapeutics might fall into a category at high risk. Click here for the HDOH’s list of eligibility.