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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2021 6:28 am    Post subject: covid Reply with quote

As the first half of the school year draws to a close, data from the Hawaii Department of Education is raising fears of a possible new Covid-19 surge as the daily coronavirus case count inches up after weeks of relatively low numbers. The DOE reported 46 cases across 26 schools on Monday, according to the agency’s data dashboard. That’s the highest number since Nov. 15, when 26 cases were confirmed across 22 schools. It was also the first time the number surpassed 40 since Oct. 4, when the delta variant was the prominent source of concern of community spread. Now, health officials are worried about the omicron variant, which is believed to be more contagious although reports suggest it may also cause fewer hospitalizations and severe illness.
The school-based numbers remain relatively low. The highest-ever Covid case count since the school year began in August with in-person classes was 182 cases among 100 schools on Aug. 23. In all, more than 4,550 cases have been reported in schools since July 3.
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“We weren’t sure if we were at the beginning, middle or end (of the pandemic) and unfortunately when we thought it was going away, here we are again with omicron,” said Osa Tui Jr., president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association. The DOE doesn’t provide information about which variant is to blame for school-based cases. Overall, Hawaii has seen an uptick in cases with a positivity rate of 2.3% on Tuesday and an average of more than 152 cases per day over the past week, according to the DOH. The state reported 214 new cases on Tuesday, while the death toll stood at 1,058. Department of Health spokesman Brooks Baehr said while he doesn’t have additional information about the school-based cases, the rise in case counts in Hawaii overall can be attributed to “the loosening of restrictions, the Thanksgiving holiday and the arrival of omicron.” “We advise people get vaccinated before attending holiday celebrations,” or take extra precautions like gathering outdoors rather than indoors or wearing masks when around people outside of one’s household, he said, adding a push for those eligible to get booster shots as well. The DOE didn’t respond to a request for comment. Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi plans to provide updates on statistics on caseloads, vaccination rates and other Covid-related issues to the Board of Education during a meeting on Thursday.
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