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COVID Cases Rising Again

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

Molokai has seen a recent increase in COVID cases this month, logging 14 so far in December, according to the Dept. of Health as of Sunday. One new case was reported on Dec. 8, seven on Dec. 9, three on Dec. 10, two on Dec. 13 and one on Dec. 14. 

The DOH is urging residents to exercise caution and celebrate the holidays safely as COVID-19 is surging as a new COVID variant known as Omicron spreads into Hawaii and cases are already on the rise. Last Friday, the DOH reported 797 new COVID cases, the highest case count in more than three months. As on Dec. 17, the seven-day new case average increased from 101 ten days ago to 297, while the positivity rate jumped from 1.4 percent 10 days previously to 4.2 percent on Dec. 17, according to the DOH.

“These numbers reflect a disturbing trend. The Delta variant, the Omicron variant, large gatherings, increased travel and holiday get-togethers appear to be fueling the surge,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char.

To date, 31 confirmed cases involving the Omicron variant have been identified in Hawaii, all on Oahu so far. 

“Although Maui County has the state’s lowest positivity rate at 1.9 percent over the past seven days, it’s just a matter of time before Omicron makes its way here,” Mayor Michael Victorino said last Friday. “I want everyone to enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season so please continue masking up indoors, keep your distance from others, avoid gatherings among different households and wash your hands frequently. Most importantly, please get vaccinated… I have no plans for additional restrictions at this time, but that will change if our medical facilities are being taxed.”


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