After weeks of increased COVID-19 cases, the state Department of Health said Thursday that Hawaii is beginning to turn the corner and regain control of the spread of the disease on all islands.
The DOH reported the first day of triple-digit new cases on July 29. By early August, the daily number of new cases exceeded 200, according to a news release.
Case numbers this week, however, appear to be declining, the DOH said, with 169 new cases reported statewide Thursday.
Of the new cases, 158 were in the City and County of Honolulu, bringing its case total to 9,304. Hawaii County reported eight new cases, with its total number at 541.
There were three new cases reported in Maui County, bringing its case total to 363.
Kauai County’s case total remains at 58, with no new cases reported Thursday.
According to the DOH, the seven-day positivity rate is 3.3%.
“This didn’t happen by accident or wishful thinking; it has been a collaborative effort,” said state Health Director Bruce Anderson. “There is evidence the initiatives of the Health Department in partnership with other organizations such as the Hawaii National Guard and the University of Hawaii and the diligence of those in the community to wear their face masks and practice physical distancing are all working to decrease the number of cases in our state. We are all doing our part to decrease disease transmission and flatten the curve.”
Anderson, however, cautioned that the state cannot let its guard down again.
“If there are surges in the future, we can expect them to be smaller and last for a shorter duration because of our system in place to control the spread more rapidly,” he said.
Anderson said living with COVID-19 is the new normal and maintaining control of the disease will require ongoing prevention, detection, containment and treatment work by the DOH and its partners.
It equally will require the ongoing commitment from those who test positive or those who have come in close contact with them to cooperate with contact tracers and disease investigators and to follow directives on isolation and quarantine.
“Strengthening our partnerships must also be a priority for testing and to provide appropriate isolation and quarantine facilities, to take any necessary enforcement actions for those who do not comply with recommended directives or orders, for timely reporting by health care providers and updates on follow-up care for those who are admitted to hospitals,” Anderson said.
In East Hawaii, a total of 14 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized at Hilo Medical Center, including six in the hospital’s intensive care unit, seven in its isolated COVID-19 unit and one in its obstetrics unit.