Hawai‘iʻs Omicron Count Reaches 50 Statewide
* Updated December 21, 5:34 AM
The Hawai‘i Department of Health has detected additional COVID-19 cases of the Omicron variant bringing the statewide total of Omicron cases to 50. Forty-nine of the 50 cases are on O‘ahu. The source and location of the remaining case is still being investigated, but health officials say it is reasonable to believe Omicron may be present on the neighbor islands.
The increase comes as Hawai‘i experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases, with 840 additional cases reported in Hawai‘i on Monday, including 742 on Oʻahu and 42 on Maui. State Health officials say the surge includes a mix of the Delta and Omicron variants.
“Early research shows the Omicron variant spreads more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus,” according to the DOH. “More data are needed to determine whether Omicron infections cause more severe illness than other variants.”
Health officials say COVID-19 vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant.
“The emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters. However, more breakthrough cases in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur,” according to a department press release.
The DOH strongly encourages COVID-19 booster shots for everyone who is eligible.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, even mild symptoms, is asked to stay home from work, school and other activities. The department advises that they should avoid other people and get tested.
“Anyone who is a close contact of a known COVID-19 positive individual should get tested regardless of vaccination status,” according to the DOH.
DOH advises people to administer home tests before and after travel and before attending gatherings or large events. Home tests are available for purchase at local pharmacies.