In light of new CDC data showing the Delta variant can spread as easily as Chickenpox, Mayor Michael Victorino is asking the Hawaii Department of Education, Department of Health and the Ige Administration to postpone the return of classroom learning until the impacts of the current COVID surge on Maui County’s healthcare facilities can be assessed.
Hawaii public schools stand ready to reopen classrooms for the new school year on Tuesday, August 3, even though the Hawaii Department of Health reports the state’s COVID positivity rate has climbed 163% over the past two weeks. Today, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency reported 452 new cases statewide, with a seven-day rolling average of 288.4 cases. Maui County had 66 new cases Sunday and is averaging 29.6 cases per day.
Even though it is rare for children to become seriously ill or die from COVID-19, hospitals in states with low vaccination rates are reporting a sharp uptick in the number of children being admitted, as the Delta variant continues to drive a surge in cases and hospitalizations nationwide.
“Even though our vaccination rate in Hawai’i is fairly good compared to other states, the Neighbor Islands have limited hospitals and critical care facilities,” Mayor Victorino said. “Our healthcare facilities are already being challenged by the recent surge of infections, so I believe it is wiser to err on the side of caution.”
“Distance learning is not new for Hawaii’s students and teachers, and while it’s not ideal, it’s preferable to a potential surge in Delta pediatric cases. We should pause for a few weeks until classroom instruction begins so we can have a better indication of how this variant will impact our medical facilities. In the meantime, I urge the unvaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible, for their own health and for the protection of our keiki.”