Maui Coronavirus Updates

Maui Health prepares for “Likely Surge” as COVID-19 cases rise

By Wendy Osher
December 21, 2021, 5:07 PM HST
* Updated December 22, 11:02 AM
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Maui Memorial Medical Center. PC: Wendy Osher (8.16.21)

Maui Health Anticipates a “Likely Surge”

The Emergency Operations Center team at Maui Health is closely monitoring the COVID-19 daily counts and positivity rates for the state and Maui County, as health care workers prepare for what they are calling “a likely surge” in cases in Maui County.

Although over 80% of the new cases reported since Friday are attributed to Oʻahu, Maui County did see an increase in new cases and a positivity rate increase to 2.7% (compared with 1.9% on Friday).

In Maui County, the seven day average for new cases daily is 30, with a 2.7% test positivity rate over 14 days. This is +93% from Dec. 6-19, 2021. For every 100,000 residents in Maui County, there have been an average of 18.1 newly reported cases per day over the last seven days.

“Maui Health preparedness continues, and we are grateful to the 97% of employees who have been vaccinated. The remaining three percent continue with regular, weekly testing. In addition, the many protective measures in place for nearly two years have remained in place including: universal masking, COVID-19 testing, N95 respirator use, face protection, and screening prior to entering all facilities,” according to a Maui Health update.

The increase comes as Hawai‘i experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases, with 707 additional cases reported in Hawai‘i on Tuesday, including 647 on Oʻahu and 26 in Maui County. State Health officials say the surge includes a mix of the Delta and Omicron variants. 

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As of Monday afternoon, officials with the state Department of Health said 49 of the 50 cases confirmed as Omicron, are on O‘ahu. The source and location of the remaining case was still being investigated, but health officials say it is reasonable to believe Omicron may be present on the neighbor islands.

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The daily statewide case counts have exceeded 700 in each of the last five days.

“While it is unclear if these new cases are caused by the Omicron variant, our health care team remains prepared to care for any COVID-19 positive patient in need of hospitalization,” said Maui Health spokesperson Tracy Dallarda.

Statewide, there were 61 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday (Down -86% from a peak of 448 on Sept. 4), according to Lt. Gov. Josh Green. This is now down -63% from the 165 hospitalizations reported on Aug. 5, 2021. The state’s positivity rate is now at 7.0%.

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There are now five people hospitalized in Maui County with COVID-19, according to counts last updated at 9 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2021, from Maui Health. All Maui COVID-19 hospitalizations are in unvaccinated individuals. Of that number, one COVID-positive patient is in the ICU and no COVID patients are on ventilators.

Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Still Available

Maui Memorial Medical Center is now the only site on island to administer monoclonal antibody therapy (mAb) treatment, according to Maui Health. Monoclonal antibody therapy is an FDA emergency use authorization treatment for reducing severity of COVID-19 symptoms in positive individuals at risk for developing severe disease.

Health officials say the treatment is effective for patients who are early in their COVID-19 positive diagnosis.

The MMMC mAb clinic is currently working to expand capabilities.

Individuals trying to schedule a mAb treatment, are asked not to go to the MMMC emergency room without an appointment. After reviewing qualifications and treatment indications at www.mauihealth.org/mab, patients are asked to email appointment requests to [email protected]

Maui Health Offers Tips for Staying Healthy

As the holiday activities quickly approach, and the positivity rates continue to climb, Maui Health issued a reminder saying, “COVID-19 is still very much part of our world.”

“The COVID-19 vaccines continue to be the best defense, and research has shown the booster dose is highly effective at reducing the risk of contracting the Omicron variant,” according to Maui Health.

The hospital team outlined precautionary measures.

Vaccine Clinic Open, No Appointment Needed:

The Maui Memorial Medical Center, Main Lobby Vaccine Clinic is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m. through January 2022.

The clinic is closed on Dec. 23, 24 and 31, in observance of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Eve. No appointment is needed, and walk-ins are welcome during clinic hours.

Individuals under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

The clinic is administering first, second, third and booster doses to all qualified individuals. To qualify for a booster dose, you must be at least 16 years old, and six months past your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months past your single dose of Johnson & Johnson.

Pediatric doses for ages 5-11 are being offered while supplies last.

In addition to vaccinations, Maui Health made the following suggestions:

  • Remember to wear your mask, practice good hand hygiene, and avoid crowds.
  • When attending holiday gatherings, considering taking the party outdoors, continue to wear your mask, and if possible, ask guests to take a COVID test prior to attending the gathering.

“COVID-19 and its variants are rapidly spreading even among fully vaccinated individuals. The precautions described above, including receiving the booster dose, will help decrease your risk of infection,” said Dallarda.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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