Hawaii Experiences High Daily Covid New Case Counts Amid Omicron
As of Jan. 6, the Hawaii Department of Health announced 4,789 new COVID-19 cases which bring the state’s total to 130,856, and four new deaths.
The Jan. 6 figure of 4,789 new cases is the highest daily COVID-19 count case.
DOH also detected 24 cases of the omicron variant on Dec. 22, bringing the total omicron cases in Hawaii to 74.
With the rising new cases and the threat of the new variant, hospitalizations in Hawaii are rising again and are expected to peak in late January.
According to reports, Covid hospitalizations exceeded 400 per day during the peak of the delta surge in 2021.
The Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Working Group Organization predicts the hospitalizations to peak at more than 525 per day by the end of the month, according to Hawaii News Now.
The number of active cases in Hawaii has more than doubled to 28,147 but people requiring hospitalizations is less than the peak levels of 525.
Lt. Governor Josh Green told Hawaii News Now, “That means delta was five times or five and a half times more likely to put someone in the hospital than omicron is.”
Green also said none of the Covid patients in the state’s intensive care units have received a booster shot, which makes the booster shot effective against severe symptoms.
Experts believe omicron presents “milder” symptoms which include sore throat, headache, cough and runny nose but it is more transmissible.
However, Dr. Scott Miscovich of Premier Medical Group says vaccination is still important to combat the spread of omicron.
“We have to stop the rhetoric that this disease is milder. It is not milder if you are not vaccinated. It is so much more contagious,” he told Hawaii News Now. “If you are unvaccinated, you have just as likely chance that you could be hospitalized in the ICU.”
New isolation and quarantine policy
DOH requires those who are Covid-positive and exposed to the virus to follow a newly revised policy that went effective on Jan. 3.
Regardless of vaccination status, Covid-positive individuals are required to isolate for at least five days until symptoms are gone and they must continue to wear a mask for five days after isolation.
For those who are boosted of vaccinated individuals exposed to Covid, there will no requirement to quarantine but are required to wear a mask for 10 days and get tested on day five.
While unvaccinated individuals exposed to Covid shall quarantine for five days, wear a mask for five days after quarantine and get tested on day five.
DOH reminds anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home from work, school and other activities. Getting tested is also encouraged for those experiencing symptoms.
“We are adopting the CDC recommendations as part of our effort to blunt the current very rapid spread of the Omicron variant. These guidelines are practical to implement, making it easier for people to do the right thing,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble.
“The guidance also acknowledges the waning immunity we are seeing with time after initial vaccination… We will continue to follow science. We should all anticipate that guidance may continue to evolve in the coming weeks as we learn more.”
Suspending in-person activities
Governor David Ige announced Dec. 30 that in-person location public meeting requirement will be suspended until Feb. 28, 2022 due to the rising cases of Covid.
The new provision in Hawaii’s Sunshine Law, passed and signed by Ige earlier this year, allows public meetings to be conducted remotely while still requiring at least one in-person present in the meeting location.
To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the said in-person requirement will be suspended while still consistent with the important transparency requirements of Hawaii’s Sunshine Law.
Meanwhile, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said in a news conference on Dec. 29 that his administration is “not going to announce any restrictions at this time.”
“We will drop the hammer if we have to. It’s about personal responsibility. Our eyes are on the hospitals. We will not allow our hospitals to get overrun.” he added.
State Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char expressed disappointment at the mayor’s decision in a separate news conference.
“Personally, I think it would have been a good thing to limit high-risk activities. We are in the middle of a pandemic,” said Char.
But on the morning of Jan. 5, Blangiardi announced that large indoor events on Oahu with 1,000 or more attendees will be subject to cut its capacity to only 50% of the venue effecting Monday, Jan. 10.
For more COVID-19 information, visit hawaiicovid19.com.