Maui Mayor Requests Postponement of Return to School Amid Delta Variant Surge
* Updated August 3, 4:55 AM
“In light of new CDC data showing the Delta variant can spread as easily as Chickenpox,” Maui Mayor Michael Victorino is asking the Hawaiʻi Department of Education, Department of Health and the Ige Administration to postpone the return of classroom learning until the impacts of the current COVID-19 surge on Maui County’s healthcare facilities can be assessed.
“Hawaiʻi public schools stand ready to reopen classrooms for the new school year on Tuesday, Aug. 3, even though the Hawaiʻi Department of Health reports the state’s COVID positivity rate has climbed 163% over the past two weeks,” according to the Victorino administration.
“Even though it is rare for children to become seriously ill or die from COVID-19, hospitals in states with low vaccination rates are reporting a sharp uptick in the number of children being admitted, as the Delta variant continues to drive a surge in cases and hospitalizations nationwide,” according to a press release issued by the Mayor’s Office.
“Even though our vaccination rate in Hawai’i is fairly good compared to other states, the Neighbor Islands have limited hospitals and critical care facilities,” Mayor Victorino said. “Our healthcare facilities are already being challenged by the recent surge of infections, so I believe it is wiser to err on the side of caution.”
There are 18 individuals hospitalized in Maui County with COVID-19, according to counts last updated on July 30, 2021, from the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency.
There are 18 ICU beds being used in Maui County at this time (out of 31 currently available). Four of the ICU beds are being used by COVID-19 patients. Eight ventilators (out of 38 available) are being used in Maui County, with three being used by COVID-19 patients.
“Distance learning is not new for Hawaiʻi’s students and teachers, and while it’s not ideal, it’s preferable to a potential surge in Delta pediatric cases. We should pause for a few weeks until classroom instruction begins so we can have a better indication of how this variant will impact our medical facilities. In the meantime, I urge the unvaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible, for their own health and for the protection of our keiki.”