COVID-19 SPECIAL UPDATE 8/2: What Can We Do About Rising Cases in Hawaiʻi?     

COVID-19 infections in our state continue to rise, with the Delta variant driving new infections. As of today, there were 365 new cases and a six percent average of positive test results; in comparison to last month, the average new daily cases has at least tripled in every county. Hospitalizations continue to increase in all counties (except Kauaʻi, which has remained the same). On Friday, 108 of the 118 cases in our hospitals were unvaccinated individuals.

WHAT CAN I DO?

 

1.  Join Our Special Update Webinar: Wednesday August 18, 1 – 2 p.m.

We know a lot more about COVID-19 now, and variants and vaccines have continued to shift how the disease spreads and impacts populations. Join us as experts including Janet Berreman (MD MPH, Kauaʻi District Health Officer) share the current picture of transmission and vulnerability in Hawaiʻi and what actions we can take. Sign up now!

 

2.  Get Vaccinated and Have Conversations.

According to Hawai‘i Department of Health Director Dr. Libby Char, “We’re very, very concerned about it and at this point there’s no real reason to think that the trend will change. Without us doing something different I think the message remains, we know what works. The No. 1 tool we have for this pandemic is to get vaccinated. We know it’s safe and we know it works.” ⠀

Governor David Ige has confirmed that he will take action to implement restrictions to protect lives if these trends continue, and we understand the economic toll this will continue to have on our state. As we learn more about the ability of the Delta variant to spread, even among the vaccinated (breakthrough cases), we want to affirm that getting vaccinated is still the most effective way to prevent severe illness, hospitalizations and death.

The Delta variant is highly contagious and according to the CDC, the highest spread of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates. We are calling on everyone to have open conversations with your friends and neighbors about the need to get vaccinated. It has become clear that this virus continues to put unvaccinated people at risk.

Not all vaccine conversations are difficult; sometimes all that stands in the way is apprehension about side effects, a lack of access to data about vaccine safety, or how necessary vaccination is for Hawaii’s recovery. Download this vaccine pocketcard (BELOW) to help frame those conversations and encourage in-home vaccinations for those who are wary of venturing out! Call (808) 586-8332 or (833) 711-0645 for appointments (7:45am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday).

 

3.  Watch for Symptoms and Get Tested.

We must all remain vigilant: symptoms for the unvaccinated have shifted since the start of the pandemic as variants emerge, and vaccinated individuals may experience different symptoms. The ZOE COVID Symptom Study, the world’s largest ongoing study of COVID-19 symptoms, has outlined the following top 5 symptoms:

Vaccinated individuals:

  1. Headache
  2. Runny nose
  3. Sneezing
  4. Sore throat
  5. Loss of smell

Unvaccinated individuals:

  1. Headache
  2. Sore Throat
  3. Runny Nose
  4. Fever
  5. Persistent cough

If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, the CDC now recommends everyone get tested. Even fully vaccinated people who donʻt show symptoms should get tested 3-5 days after exposure, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until receipt of a negative test result.

Stay home when sick and/or get tested if you experience any of the above symptoms. Tests are freely available in Hawaiʻi. Contact your primary care physician or visit one of the sites below for free testing:
Kauaʻi County
C&C of Honolulu
Maui County
Hawaiʻi County

 

4.  Mask Up.

Hawaii‘s indoor mask mandate is still in place. Please continue wearing your masks in indoor public spaces, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated!

 

5.  Gather Safely.

Continue choosing outdoor over indoor gatherings. Enjoy our beautiful beaches, parks, and trails and avoid gathering in large groups!

We know this is a marathon, and we know you’re tired. But we’ve done it before and we can do it again; we truly believe taking these steps can get our state back on track, despite the influence of the Delta variant. Sign up for our webinar August 18, 1 – 2 p.m., and until then, let’s work together to protect our ʻohana and keep COVID-19 from overwhelming Hawaiʻi.

 

Mahalo,

The HIPHI Team