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Kaua‘i health department predicts rise in COVID-19 cases

LIHU‘E — As the state Department of Health reported that COVID-19 hospitalizations have nearly doubled in the past week, the DOH Kaua‘i district health officer says she expects to see a rise in cases on Kaua‘i in the coming months.

The DOH weekly report on April 5 states that COVID-19 hospitalizations jumped from 39 to 74 patients in the state between March 26 and April 4, an 89.7 percent increase.

Six patients died after being hospitalized, one on Kaua‘i, a female over 80 who had underlying health conditions.

Even with the rise in hospitalizations, the data shows the number of daily cases on Kaua‘i steadily declined in late March, going from 10.7 average daily cases on March 26 down to 5.4 on March 31. There was a four-case decrease from the previous week, with the most recent reported daily average being 5.9 on April 3.

But DOH Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said even though cases are declining, she predicts that could soon change. “We have not been seeing big increases on Kaua‘i, but we are seeing recently an increase on O‘ahu and statewide.”

O‘ahu saw 34 new cases, according to the DOH, with average daily cases rising to 121 on March 31. Statewide, there were 151 average daily cases total, a 29-case increase from the previous week.

“If what’s happened in the past holds true, Kaua‘i will be a little bit behind O‘ahu and the rest of the state, but will follow a similar pattern. So it’s certainly possible that we will see increases here,” said Berreman.

She advised residents to follow standard COVID-19 health protocols to limit exposure risk, including wearing a mask inside crowded places, avoiding poorly ventilated areas, keeping a distance from others, and staying home when sick.

“And everybody should be fully vaccinated, because if you do get infected, being fully vaccinated makes it much less likely that you will have severe disease or be hospitalized,” said Berreman.

Throughout the state, there were 1,047 new COVID-19 cases reported: 851 on O‘ahu, 85 on Hawai‘i Island, 52 on Kaua‘i, 46 on Maui, and three from out of state. The DOH has now reported 1,864 COVID-related deaths, and 383,880 total cases, since the start of the pandemic.

But Berreman said that, since most people use home test kits, the vast majority of cases are not reported to the DOH, and the actual number is likely significantly higher.

She added that there’s “no reason to be alarmed,” but it “behooves people to continue to be careful and to take all of the precautions” to avoid the virus and its spread.
Source: The Garden Island

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