Over the past several weeks, the state has seen higher than ever before recorded COVID-19 infections sweep the counties and begin to overwhelm Hawaii’s healthcare systems. Oahu’s Leeward coast has entered into crisis mode as the area holds some of the highest COVID case counts. Among the highest were in the Waianae area. Waianae holds a 35% vaccination rate for the city. The state reported an upward of 11,000 newly active COVID cases in the last two weeks, bringing the total count since the start of the pandemic to just over 63,500. There were additional COVID related deaths during this time as well, bringing the total COVID related death count to just under 600 for the state. Majority of the current active cases remain on Oahu.
Additionally, residents and visitors alike are beginning to let their guards down as they become increasingly agitated by the increasing restrictive measures mandated by the state. The Honolulu Medical Examiners office had recently reported being over capacity. Refrigerated morgue trailers have been deployed and are currently in use as the morgue battles with overcrowding. Meanwhile, the delta variant is on the rise and by the size of the crowds, folks don’t seem to mind. The Department of Land and Natural Resources has responded to various events in which attendees were witnessed violating the state’s restriction orders and gathering in groups of hundreds, much more than the permitted groups of 25 for outdoors.
The governor has made it clear that he has no intentions of easing up restrictions any time soon. In fact, it is rumored that there will be upcoming changes to the states restrictions over Labor Day weekend in order to avoid a spike in positive cases due to expected large gatherings. It was also recently announced that as of September 13th, restaurants, gyms, bars, and other similar establishments will require both employees and customers either proof of vaccination status or of a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter and operate business. Governor Ige has been transparent with his goal from the beginning; 70% of Hawaii’s residents need to be vaccinated in order to return to a semi-normal lifestyle. As the daily case count continues to rise, more restrictive orders will continue to be implemented.
To assist in the fight against COVID-19, KLEAN has recently partnered with the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce to bring major healthcare providers such as Kaiser Permanente, Waianae Coast Comprehensive, Queens West, and Hawaii Pacific Health into the Campbell Industrial Park in an effort to give those in the park who previously had not gotten vaccinated for various reasons, a chance to do so. Healthcare providers will continue to set up vaccination stations throughout the island in attempt to increase state vaccination rates as well. As the Pfizer-BioNTech has now received FDA approval for use for individuals 16 and older, many hope that Hawaii’s vaccination rates will start to rise and restrictions will begin to ease.
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