State officials respond to Hawaii’s largest single-day count of new COVID-19 cases

(FILE) Rainbow Tower at Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. There has been a steady increase in passenger arrivals to Hawaii since the pandemic began in March. 2,637 people arrived on Monday, July 6. The said number, however, is still well below average compared to the same time last year, during which approximately 35,000 people arrived daily. (Photo by Ariel Castro, EBC Seattle Bureau, Eagle News Service)

By Alfred Acenas
EBC Hawaii Bureau

HONOLULU (Eagle News) – The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) announced on Tuesday, July 7, that there were 41 new cases of COVID-19, the highest case count since the pandemic began in early March. Thirty-eight (38) were in Honolulu/Oahu, one (1) in Big Island, and two (2) in Kauai.

Governor David Ige has assured that the new COVID-19 cases are still manageable.

“It is the highest we’ve had, and it is concerning. However, as we re-opened our economy, we expected this. We are tracking this very closely and it is manageable right now,” the governor stated. “We have the ability to test people we need to test, and DOH has significantly increased the number of people available to trace the contacts of positive cases.”

Governor Ige also said he is in “daily discussions with DOH, the county mayors, and other leaders.”

“As we have done in the past, we will continue to make decisions based on the best available science and facts. We have not made any decisions yet and will let you know as soon as any changes are necessary,” Ige said.

DOH officials are reminding everyone that there can be a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases as levels of activity increase within the Aloha State.

“Now more than ever, it is critically important for everyone to wear a cloth face mask whenever outside of their home. Many of the clusters we have been investigating are associated with situations where a mask has not been worn or physical distancing was not exercised. These are new infections that are not associated with known cases and investigations,” DOH Director Dr. Bruce Anderson said. “We have an opportunity now to turn around these numbers before opening travel and safely resuming school and work. Let’s take this opportunity to all wear masks and do our part to prevent COVID-19.”

State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park added, “This latest report shows COVID-19 is widely circulating in our community. The numbers today will likely continue, at least at this level, if people continue to disregard using their masks and physical distancing. While we have an increased number of staff at DOH and are in the process of hiring newly trained contact tracers, the community must adhere to safe practices, as no amount of contact tracing and testing will combat a respiratory pathogen alone.”

To date, Hawaii has a total 1,071 confirmed cases, one of the lowest in the U.S.

(Eagle News Service)