HONOLULU (KHON2) — The highly transmissible Delta variant is making up almost half of the state’s new cases.

Health officials said this is a concern as the Delta variant is showing signs of more severe health complications.

The number of patients in hospital COVID-19 units and intensive care units is averaging high once again.

“We’ve had more than 40 COVID patients today in our hospitals since July 6,” Healthcare Association of Hawaii President and CEO Hilton Raethel said. “Now going back a couple weeks before that, we were in the thirties and low forties. So to see the consistent numbers above 40, and hitting 52 yesterday is a concern.” 

Raethel said 12 COVID-19 patients are currently in the ICU. It is not enough to impact the state’s health system, but severe illness from COVID-19 could be avoidable.

Kauai’s Health District Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said people who are vaccinated are protected against the variants circulating in the state.

“The thing we are most worried is hospitalized and severe disease,” Dr. Berreman said. “We’re seeing almost none of that in people who are vaccinated. So the vaccines are very, very strongly protective including with some of the variants.”

Berreman said the Delta variant is also starting to show signs of severe health complications on patients.

“There’s increasing evidence that it is more severe,” Dr. Berreman said. “And in fact, Dr. Char shared that she was on a call this morning, which it was estimated that the Delta variant has twice the fatality rate. ”

Two COVID-19 related deaths were reported in the past seven days by the state. Raethel’s concern is that those hospitalized could contribute to the state’s mortality count.

Raethel said, “Is impacting young people and middle age people, and older people. So the people right now in the hospitals are not fragile 80 year-olds with multiple conditions.”