Big Island has 52 active COVID-19 cases; state adds 284 **updated 1:30p.m.

Hawaii State Department of Health’s noon update:  284 new cases in the state.  The state’s cumulative count now is 6,356 with 4,202 active.  There have been one additional death on O’ahu, bringing the state’s death toll to 47.  The 36-year-old who died of COVID19 was an employee at the Institute for Human Services homeless shelter, according to a statement released by the IHS shelter Executive Director, Connie Mitchell, released and printed on Facebook:  ““We are heartbroken by the loss of one of our own team members.
Willie Talamoa was a valued member of the IHS team – always upbeat and positive — He worked tirelessly to encourage and inspire our homeless shelter guests. His young age reminds us all of our own vulnerability against this disease that does not discriminate.”

The new cases include 15 on Hawaii Island, with 192 cumulative and 52 active cases.  As of Friday evening at 6 p.m., there were 8 people at Hilo Medical Center.  At noon today, HMC Public Information Officer Elena Cabatu said there were 7 people at the facility with COVID-19.  In good news, Ms. Cabatu advised that as of 1 p.m. today, Saturday, there are 6 people now in HMC with COVID-19  Friday, Kona Community Hospital PIO Judy Donovan said they had no COVID-19 cases as of noon.  North Hawaii Community Hospital spokesperson said they would not comment.

Maui County has 10 new cases.   Kaua’i has zero new cases.

O’ahu has added 259 cases.

O’ahu has the largest number of active cases, but the outbreak on Hawaii Island is concerning.  On O’ahu, hospitals are struggling, not as much with physical capacity but with personnel to staff the facilities.  Hilton Raethel of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii has said O’ahu hospitals are shifting patients among them to spread out the workload and the extra requirements for COVID-19 patient care.

On Hawaii Island, so far, our hospital capacity is still fine.  But the island’s capacity is smaller than that of O’ahu, and it would not take much to overwhelm this island’s capacity.  Dr. Josh Green, the State’s Lieutenant Governor and an emergency room doctor, has praised Hilo Medical Center for its ability and preparation to add beds if needed by turning other spaces into patient spaces.   So far, that has not been needed. Green also said the National Guard and the Military are prepared to stand up field hospitals.  As the cases in the state have been growing, Dr. Bruce Anderson, Director of State Department of Health said the state is now designated as “in the red zone,” and that is bringing additional Federal attention and resources.

Anderson says the spread is being caused, in part, by gatherings–parties, memorial gatherings, and religious services, mostly people gathering in private homes and often family members, in addition to people gathering in bars, all without masks.

On the Big Island, several areas around the island have between 1 and 25 cases that began in the last 28 days, with Hilo having between 26 and 50 cases that have been confirmed within the last 28 days.

Late Friday, Hawaii County Civil Defense released a message saying any gathering, indoors or out, public or private, is limited to 10 people, and everybody must stay 6 feet apart.  The message says “family groups are exempt.”

Below is the state’s current detailed update.  Note the “required hospitalization” figures for Hawaii County are not in synch with what Hilo Medical Center has provided when asked for details.



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