After nearly six weeks of elevated numbers of positive COVID-19 cases, Hawai‘i is beginning to turn the corner and regain control of the spread of the disease on all islands.
On July 29, the Hawai‘i Department of Health reported the number of cases had exceeded 100 for the first time. By early August, the daily number exceeded 200. The case numbers this week appear to be declining with 169 new cases reported today. The seven-day positive case rate is currently 3.3%.
“This didn’t happen by accident or wishful thinking; it has been a collaborative effort. There is evidence the initiatives of the health department in partnership with other organizations such as the Hawai‘i National Guard and the University of Hawai‘i 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,” said Bruce Anderson, director of the Hawai‘i Department of Health. “We are all doing our part to decrease disease transmission and flatten the curve.”
Anderson added a word of precaution: “But we cannot let our 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 noted 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 Department of Health and its partners. Equally, it will require the ongoing commitment from individuals 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 healthcare providers and updates on follow-up care for those who are admitted to hospitals,” Anderson said.