An additional 69 samples have been detected since the last report on July 12, bringing the total number of delta variants detected, including 57 last week, to 126 statewide.
Health officials say it is now the predominant variant of concern in Hawaii, accounting for 55% of the variants circulating in the state, as well as the strain with the fastest growing rate in Hawaii.
What initially was just a single case of the delta variant – detected in a fully vaccinated Oahu resident who traveled to Nevada in early May – has now grown to 126.
Delta has been detected in all four counties since mid-July and is growing fastest in Honolulu County, which has 61 detected cases, followed by Hawaii County, which has 31 cases, and Maui County, which has nine cases, and Kauai County. , which has seven cases.
The delta variant is one of the main drivers of today’s peak of 243 new coronavirus cases, the highest tracked since early January of this year. Today’s daily record was also the eighth day in a row that daily cases were reported in triple digits, a trend that officials say is expected to continue in the weeks to come.
Edward Desmond, administrator of the state labs division, said the growth was “more or less what was expected.” In the latest report from July 12, a total of 57 delta variants had been detected, representing about 17% of the variants circulating in the state.
“When this variant is present in a population, it grows,” he said. “It’s more transmissible than the other variants. “
Desmond said the division is currently examining around 100 specimens per week.
Health officials say there is widespread community transmission statewide and that the vast majority of people infected with COVID-19 are not vaccinated.
Some of the cases have come from unvaccinated people gathering indoors, without masks, as well as unvaccinated people who have traveled, officials said. Unvaccinated adults also infect children under 12 who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
Today’s cluster report focuses on the spread of COVID-19 among unvaccinated residents, which it says are linked to the Delta, residents of Hawaii who have traveled to the mainland, gatherings in the July 4 and the relaxation of indoor masking and gathering size limitations.
Health officials are currently investigating 16 groups across the four counties, including bars, restaurants, social gatherings and places of worship. Most of them, nine in various categories, are found in Oahu.
Common elements, said Dr Janet Berreman, head of Kauai’s health district, include unvaccinated people meeting in indoor places close to each other for an extended period, with irregular mask use.
“I think the most important message in the cluster report is that the disease is not contained in a particular type of setting or a particular geographic location in our state,” Berreman said. “We are seeing widespread community transmission and associated with this we are seeing clusters that are also widely distributed. “
The good news, she said, is that the COVID-19 vaccines available in Hawaii are “very effective” in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and death.
“So the most important result is that everyone who has not already been vaccinated should be and should do so as soon as possible,” she said. “The situation is really urgent with the rapid increase in cases and the rapid spread of the delta variant. “
Health officials are currently investigating 16 clusters across the four counties:
>> In Oahu, authorities are investigating a group in a bar and nightclub with 31 cases, two groups in restaurants with 14 cases, a group in a work setting with six cases, a group at a social gathering with 10 cases and four groups in the other category resulting in 39 cases.
>> In Maui County, authorities are investigating a group at a social rally that has resulted in eight cases.
>> In Hawaii County, authorities are investigating a group in a correctional facility that resulted in 286 cases and a group in a place of worship that resulted in 20 cases.
>> In Kauai County, authorities are investigating a cluster with four cases in an educational setting, a shelter cluster that resulted in seven cases, a social gathering cluster with four cases and a place of worship cluster with seven cases.