COVID-19 cluster report highlights Oahu elementary school, notes downward trend in cases statewide

The latest Hawaii Department of Health cluster report reflects a downward trend of COVID-19 cases, with only 13 clusters currently under investigation statewide.

The report released today highlights a cluster of 30 coronavirus cases linked to an Oahu elementary school that occurred in August and September.

Seven individuals in a class of 30 students and staff tested positive and were associated.

These seven cases then spread the virus to household members, resulting in 22 secondary cases. One of these secondary cases – a person who had not been vaccinated – was also hospitalized.

There were also six breakthrough cases among those who were fully vaccinated, including one staff member and five secondary cases, which resulted from this cluster.

The school enforced multiple mitigation strategies to help stop the spread of COVID-19, including mask wearing, physical distancing, and screening and testing of students, faculty and staff on campus.

The DOH response team also advised the school to improve ventilation in the classrooms. It turned out that teachers at the school kept windows and doors closed to maintain central air conditioning and reduce outside noise.

The team advised the school to improve airflow in classrooms as an additional layer of protection.

DOH is currently awaiting federal approval to administer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to keiki ages 5 to 11, which covers the age range for most elementary school students.

Government David Ige said earlier this week: pending federal approvals, vaccinations for Hawaii children ages 5 to 11 may begin as early as Nov. 8. He said the state had plans for more than 150 vaccination sites for younger children, including the option of more than 100 schools to serve as vaccination sites.

At the same time, DOH noted in this cluster report that Hawaii has experienced a downward trend in COVID-19 cases statewide in recent weeks.

Today DOH reported: two new coronavirus-related deaths and 126 new infections statewide, bringing state totals to 891 deaths and 83,832 cases since the start of the pandemic. The 7-day average of new cases is 121 and the average positivity rate is 2.1%.

These 13 clusters — compared with 48 in mid-August — occurred in food vendors, social gatherings, places of worship, and construction and other occupational settings.

Most of the cases are in correctional facilities, which are still listed.

A cluster is defined as three or more confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases related to a particular location or event within a single two-week incubation period. But the same cluster can be included in multiple reports, according to DOH, if a new case is identified within 14 days of the final report.

In mid-August, in the middle of the delta wave, DOH . was research into a maximum of 48 clusters in all four major provinces, including outbreaks at a wedding and concert.

Health officials are investigating 13 clusters with more than 800 COVID-19 cases, most of which are related to ongoing clusters in correctional facilities.

>> In Honolulu County, officials are investigating two clusters in correctional facilities with 368 cases, two clusters at food suppliers with 60 cases, one in the construction and industrial setting with four cases, and one in the travel, accommodation and tourism sector with six cases .

>> In Maui County, officials are investigating one cluster in an educational setting with 17 cases, and two in other occupational settings with 16 cases.

>> In Hawaii County, officials are investigating a cluster at a correctional facility with 336 cases, one at a social gathering with 13 cases, and another at a place of worship, resulting in 22 cases.

>> In Kauai County, officials are investigating just one cluster at a social gathering that resulted in four cases.

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