The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) reports two additional confirmed Omicron variant COVID-19 cases and several possible points of exposure in Hawai‘i.
“It is imperative that all Hawai‘i residents work together to limit the spread of the Omicron variant,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble. “These additional cases and points of exposure show that Omicron is in our community, and the best thing we can do is to get vaccinated, continue to wear a mask and get tested if you feel ill or had contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.”
DOH’s State Laboratories Division (SLD) confirmed two additional Omicron variant cases, both in O‘ahu residents. Neither of these cases reported travel outside of the state. Both of the cases confirmed today were fully vaccinated and reported mild to moderate symptoms. Neither is hospitalized. Possible links to the case confirmed last week are being investigated.
SLD is also in the process of sequencing an additional eight COVID-19 specimens received since Friday with a “molecular clue” suggesting possible Omicron variant. SLD is also performing enhanced molecular surveillance of neighbor island specimens this week to look for Omicron, but at this time, no Omicron cases have been confirmed outside of O‘ahu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has notified DOH that Hawai‘i residents were on the attendee list at a New York City anime convention associated with Omicron variant cases reported in other states. The exact number of attendees has not yet been confirmed, but a dozen or more Hawai‘i residents may have attended the convention. DOH will be contacting convention attendees who have returned to the state to assess for symptoms and to ensure access to testing.
DOH is also issuing guidance to members of an O‘ahu church because of the imminent health threat posed by the Omicron variant. Members of Christ Embassy Hawai‘i and members of the public who attended events organized by Christ Embassy on or after November 23 are being urged to test for COVID-19. While the church is headquartered in Waipahu, events related to the organization are held across O‘ahu. Events include a recent outreach event in Kalihi near the Mayor Wright Homes.
“DOH only discloses case locations when there is an imminent risk to public health. Based on the findings of our investigation, we believe disclosure is warranted to prevent further transmission of the Omicron variant,” Dr. Kemble continued.
One person who tested positive for the Omicron variant is believed to have attended Christ Embassy events and DOH has reason to believe that there are several more positive cases associated with the church. Several members of Christ Embassy church recently traveled to a country identified by the CDC as having a high risk for Omicron variant cases.
Individuals who attended Christ Embassy events since November 23 should get tested for COVID-19. They should also closely monitor themselves for symptoms including fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat or loss of taste or smell. If symptoms develop, they are advised to self-quarantine and seek medical consultation, for more on symptoms: hawaiicovid19.com/symptoms. DOH continues to attempt to make contact with Christ Embassy leadership.
DOH asks for your help and cooperation. If you are contacted by DOH, please assist our contact tracers to prevent spread of COVID-19. DOH staff will work with anyone who tests positive to minimize their risk of exposing others and can assist with accessing care, including monoclonal antibody treatment to decrease severity of illness.
For more, view hawaiicovid19.com/contact-tracing.