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Two Big Island COVID clusters investigated by state in past two weeks

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Jason Yung receives the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during Bay Clinic’s vaccination event April 17 in Keaukaha.

Two COVID-19 clusters have been investigated on the Big Island in the past 14 days, including one that has resulted in 45 virus cases, according to a weekly cluster report issued Thursday by the state Department of Health.

The report does not specify where that cluster occurred, or in what kind of setting the exposure happened.

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While clusters typically are identified in the report by exposure setting — for example, if a cluster is in a congregate setting, in food service or production, in an occupational setting or the result of social and recreational activities — this cluster is identified as “other.”

Cyrus Johnasen, a spokesman for Mayor Mitch Roth, however, said it’s thought that this is a previously reported cluster and not a new outbreak.

According to data from the DOH, 29 cases have been reported in Hilo during the past 14 days, and 38 have been reported in Kailua-Kona during the same time frame.

A second cluster in a place of worship resulted in nine cases.

The DOH on Thursday reported 101 new cases in Hawaii, including nine new cases on the Big Island, 76 on Oahu, nine on Maui and two on Kauai. Five residents were diagnosed outside the state.

The DOH also reported on Thursday the deaths of an Oahu man, age 30-39, and a Maui woman, age 50-59, both of whom had been hospitalized.

Hawaii County on Thursday had a 0.9% test positivity rate, compared to a 1.5% positivity rate statewide.

Johnasen said the county has been working closely with the DOH and Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, which have been monitoring cases closely and doing contact tracing.

He thinks those efforts are why the number of new cases on the Big Island are trending down, “and we’re proud of the work they’re doing.”

As of Thursday, more than 1.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered statewide.

The DOH and hospitals statewide have administered 842,345 doses, federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense have administered 134,019 doses and another 129,287 doses have been administered through federal programs for nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

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In Hawaii County, 47% of the population 18 and older have received at least one dose while 31% of adults have completed a vaccination series.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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