Health officials suspect Delta behind uptick in cases

HONOLULU (KHON2) — For the second day in a row, the state sees COVID-19 case numbers in the triple digits.

The last time that happened was early May.

On Sunday, the state reported 102 new cases of COVID-19, down from 114 reported on Saturday.

“It looks like this is the first part of a wave after July 4,” said Lieutenant Governor Dr. Josh Green, Hawaii Covid-19 Healthcare Contact. “Hopefully it won’t get too serious.”

The state health department is expected to release information about the highly transmissible Delta variant sometime this week, along with how many detected cases there are in the state.

KHON2 asked Green if he would be surprised if Delta has already gotten a hold of Hawaii.

“I’m sure it is,” he said. “I think it happens everywhere. The Delta variant is much more contagious.”

It’s still not known whether the Delta variant worsens serious disease, but health officials say vaccines have been shown to work against it, keeping fully vaccinated people out of hospital.

On Friday, state health director Dr. Libby Char said of the 116 COVID hospitalizations in June, more than 96 percent of patients had not been fully vaccinated.

“I had someone write me some pretty nasty stuff today telling me to stop recommending vaccinations, and I said to that person, ‘Think about the impact on the 48 people in the hospital,'” he said. green. “Those people are very sick and some of them couldn’t get vaccinated, and it’s getting worse for them.”

“The Delta variant is much more transmissible among people who are not protected,” explains Dr. Melinda Ashton, Hawaii Pacific Health pediatrician. “So, the unvaccinated among us, those who cannot be vaccinated or choose not to be vaccinated, are now more at risk of contracting COVID than before the Delta variant appeared.”

Lieutenant Governor Green said about a third of the state is at risk of contracting COVID, or more specifically the Delta variant, including about 216,000 keiki who are not eligible to be vaccinated.

“We’re seeing a lot more cases in children than we were many months ago,” said Kauai Dr. Warren Sparks. “They don’t get very sick, which is great news, although we have one that is in the hospital and is quite sick.”

“People have the idea that children don’t get sick from COVID. They can definitely get infected,” Dr. Ashton explained. “We see some children with a serious illness who end up in the hospital.”

She said vaccinated households are doing their part to protect their children but are encouraging the wearing of masks in children over the age of two.

“Be careful who you associate with as a family. If you are with other people who may not have been vaccinated as highly as your family, be careful of possible exposure in those ways. Do the activities outside instead of inside. That sort of thing,” she said.

“Even for vaccinated people there is a small risk of contracting the virus, and it won’t make you very sick, but you can also take it home to a child or an immunocompromised person in your house or kupuna if they are not vaccinated, and it can be life-changing. They could be devastated,” Dr. Sparks added.

FDA approval for vaccines for children under 12 is expected to come in the fall, but an official date has not been announced at this time.

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