Hawaii cluster report highlights transmission of COVID-19 from social gatherings – .

Hawaii cluster report highlights transmission of COVID-19 from social gatherings – .

The Hawaii Department of Health cluster report this week focuses on the spread of the coronavirus among restaurant workers at social gatherings outside of work.
In early June, officials investigated a cluster of 14 cases of COVID-19 among food service workers associated with five different social events.

The majority of the cases, 12, were food service workers at three different restaurants. Eleven had attended at least one of the social events, with some overlap.

>> RELATED: Hawaii Sees 69 New Coronavirus Cases, Bringing Total To 38,265 Statewide

Although the rallies were small – involving only two to five people at a time – no one wore masks or socially distanced themselves, officials said. Together they went to a bar, ate in a restaurant, watched a movie in the cinema, and got together in a private residence.

Those 11 employees then spread the coronavirus to three other employees who never attended any of the social gatherings. All three employees were exposed while working in the kitchen of one of the restaurants.

In mid-June, authorities also investigated a cluster of four cases among food service workers who socialized outside of work – also without masks or proper distancing.

Initially, three in seven people who attended an outdoor weekend rally followed by dinner were diagnosed with coronavirus. They in turn spread the coronavirus to another employee who did not socialize with them over the weekend due to workplace exposure.

None have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Also in March, health officials investigated a cluster of five coronavirus cases among unvaccinated restaurant workers who shared an electronic cigarette in a car during a work break.

Health officials have said that an enclosed kitchen with poor ventilation and where a distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained increases the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

The CDC recommends that unvaccinated employees take staggered breaks from work and that masks and social distancing of 6 feet or more be required in the workplace, as well as cleaning of spaces between uses. Group gatherings should be avoided if proper distancing is not possible.

Additionally, employers should encourage their employees to get vaccinated and consider offering incentives to do so to prevent the spread of COVID-19, officials said. Those who are fully vaccinated do not have to self-quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 if they are asymptomatic, which minimizes disruption in the workplace.

The report, released Thursday, reflects the clusters under investigation over the past two weeks. The report will only be released once every two weeks after this one, the DOH said, in order to devote more time to the vaccination effort.

“Cluster reports have shown that vaccinations are the most effective tool to prevent COVID-19 infection, hospitalizations and deaths,” the DOH said in a statement. “Wearing a mask, physical distancing and avoiding large crowds, especially indoors, are also effective mitigation tools. “

Last week, the report focused on clusters in home child care. The previous week, he focused on gatherings in places of worship, which are under investigation in three different counties.

Health officials are currently investigating eight clusters in the four counties:

>> In Oahu, authorities are investigating a group from a place of worship that resulted in 20 cases, in addition to a group from a social rally which resulted in 10 cases.

>> In Maui County, authorities are investigating a group from an educational setting that resulted in six cases, and a group from a place of worship which resulted in eight cases.

>> In Hawaii County, authorities continue to investigate a cluster from a correctional facility that resulted in 270 cases and another cluster in the “other” category resulting in five cases. The “other” category includes offices, retail and first responders.

>> In Kauai County, authorities are investigating a group at a place of worship with 11 cases and a group at a shelter with 4 cases.


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