Health officials on alert for new virus variant in Hawaii

HONOLULU — Residents have been warned to be extra vigilant and continue to follow safety guidelines as cases of a new seemingly more contagious strain of the coronavirus have recently been reported in the U.S., health officials said.

The Hawaii Department of Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there have been increased efforts to find the new variant and to understand how it is transmissible, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. It has not been detected in Hawaii.

Confirmed cases of the new coronavirus strains have been found in the U.K., South Africa and in the U.S. in Colorado, California and Florida.

“All we know is that we have not yet found it,” State Laboratories Division Dr. Edward Desmond said. “We’re going to cast a wide net to see if we can quickly find it when it is here and then we can make decisions about whether that should impact our community mitigation measures.”

The vaccines being distributed are thought to be effective against the new strain. Health officials have said about 25,000 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered statewide. Local pharmacies received a surprise shipment of 3,800 doses this week, boosting the total delivered in December to 65,250.

The state health department on Friday reported 241 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and one death, bringing the totals since the start of the pandemic in March to more than 21,600 cases and 289 deaths.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

  1. I saw a Vampire once January 2, 2021 5:36 pm Reply

    This is bad news for Hawai’i. 289 deaths from COVID-19. I use the darth Vader face mask from Walmart. It covers half my face and down to the shoulders. It uses a double cloth to protect against the air and other surrounding air from entering in through me just by breathing normally. It covers and is a good protectant. Plus I use a hand sanitizer to disinfect the cloth on every use. This is double protection. I use it every time I go outside. This helps a lot. I have several variations of face mask. So this is good for me. They say this wearing of face mask will continue on into the 2021 season. So no outdoor activities yet. I don’t know why they are still playing the college football game. Several players have died already from it. Most recently Ty Jordan, Utah Utes freshmen, 19 years old. He shot himself. Then died. I can only suspect COVID-19 related. Because the mom died of cancer in August of 2019. Ty Jordan died later in the year of a gun shot wound.

  2. I saw a Vampire once January 2, 2021 5:46 pm Reply

    let me correct that date, Ty Jordan died in August of 2020. He died later on in the year 2020. Due to COVID-19 related issues. Please put both post up. Thank you.

  3. I saw a Vampire once January 2, 2021 5:51 pm Reply

    Sorry. Please be patience with me. Ty Jordan died in December of 2020. His mom died earlier in the year in August of 2020. Ty Jordan was Utah Utes, 19 years old freshmen of the year. The case was COVID-19 RELATED. This was last year 2020. So you can see many players coming into contact with COVID-19 face issues that propel them to kill themselves or in Ty Jordan’s case, he shot himself. Thanks.

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