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Record number of COVID patients in HMC

Three dozen COVID-positive patients were hospitalized as of Wednesday at Hilo Medical Center, an all-time high.

The record number of hospitalizations come as the state continues to grapple with an ongoing surge of COVID-19 — driven by the highly contagious Delta variant — that is straining Hawaii’s health care resources.

Hospital spokeswoman Elena Cabatu said there also were 13 “holds” in the emergency room Wednesday morning, or patients who were admitted but for whom there were no available beds elsewhere. Three of those individuals were COVID-positive.

“We have been looking at what our next steps will be,” she said. “… We are constantly looking at the facility to see where we can open more beds.”

Cabatu said there currently are no plans to erect triage tents outside of the hospital to care for patients, as other hospitals have done, because “requirements for our patients are higher than what a tent will provide.”

Six active COVID-19 patients are in the hospital’s intensive care unit, five of whom are on ventilators. One long-term COVID patient also is in the ICU.

Twelve ventilators currently are in use. HMC has 41 adult, one pediatric and one neonatal ventilator.

The Hawaii Department of Health on Wednesday reported an additional 625 COVID-19 cases statewide, including 100 new infections on the Big Island.

An average of 687 cases have been reported daily Aug. 17-23, according to the DOH.

Hawaii County boasted an 8.4% test positivity rate, compared to an 8.3% positivity rate statewide.

The City and County of Honolulu had the highest positivity rate in the state at 9.6%.

According to the DOH, 489 cases have been reported in Hilo and 391 cases have been reported in Kailua-Kona in the past 14 days.

Statewide, 62.3% of Hawaii residents have been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

In Hawaii County, 59% of residents, or 117,163 individuals, have been fully vaccinated while 71%, or 140,942 people, have received at least one dose.

A partial list of vaccination sites can be found online at

Testing will be held from noon to 4 p.m. today at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kona Community Aquatic Center in Kailua-Kona.

Additional testing opportunities can be found online at

Email Stephanie Salmons at
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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