HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER – February 16: Errors in lab reporting end in undercounting

Hawaii health officials reported 17 new COVID-19 infections nationwide on Tuesday, an undercount due to a laboratory report error.

These cases reflect tests through Sunday, the Ministry of Health wrote in a press release Tuesday afternoon. The electronic laboratory reporting system was then interrupted, officials said, but did not disclose how long or what caused the system failure.

The state “expects a” rebound “effect of increased case numbers in the next few days if the feeds are restored,” wrote a spokesman.

The 17 cases recorded on Tuesday included 13 in Oahu, three in Maui, and one resident diagnosed in a state of emergency.

Severe winter weather in much of the United States is also causing delays in the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines from the mainland to Hawaii, Department of Health spokesman Brooks Baehr told Civil Beat on Tuesday afternoon by email.

Some vaccination appointments may need to be postponed after unsuccessful delivery of 14,200 doses of Moderna vaccine scheduled to arrive on Tuesday.

State health officials expect 42,800 doses of vaccine this week, plus an additional 4,400 doses to be dispensed directly to local CVS / Longs Drugs pharmacies.

“It is unclear how the weather can affect deliveries later this week,” said Baehr.

Clinics and pharmacies have administered more than 261,950 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since December. About 10% of the state’s total population have received at least the first of two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Hawaii remains in Phase 1b of its vaccine rollout plan, which includes seniors 75 and older, first responders, and other key workers. Phase three of Hawaii’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan is scheduled to start in March. This phase 1c includes people aged 65 and over, as well as other key workers and people with underlying health conditions.

Hawaii health officials have confirmed that a more contagious variant of COVID-19 that originated in the United Kingdom is now present on Oahu.

The first two patients were on Oahu and had no relationship with each other. They didn’t have a travel history, which suggests the variant is floating around in the community. The third case confirmed this week was close contact from the first patient, said Dr. Sarah Kemble, the acting state epidemiologist, emailed Civil Beat.

No deaths were reported. The death toll from COVID-19 is 426.

There are currently 45 hospitalized people with COVID-19 in Hawaii, including 16 in intensive care and 12 on ventilators. During the last infection summit in September, up to 50 people needed ventilators.

Nationwide, it has been confirmed that 1% of people tested in the past week have COVID-19. That number is 1.8% on Maui and 1.2% on Oahu. In Hawaii and Kauai Counties, less than 1% of patients tested positive for COVID in the past week.

The current convention restrictions on Oahu will remain in place for at least an additional month.

For more information, please visit this Hawaii Department of Health or State COVID-19 website, as well as the Hawaii Data Collaborative COVID-19 tracking website. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency also offers this comprehensive dashboard. You can also find out more about our daily COVID-19 tracker here.

26,906
Covid-19 cases

426
Deaths

1,039,472
Tests carried out

37
Daily number of cases

1.2%
Test positivity

Source: Honolulu City and County
* Current case numbers and the positivity rate of the tests may not correlate with the metrics set for a particular stage, as the county must spend at least four consecutive weeks on a stage and meet the metrics for the next stage before proceeding according to the reopening plan. For more information on the Honolulu City and County reopening strategy and details of Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, and Tier 4 restrictions, please visit oneoahu.org

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