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Lieutenant governor: State could be hit hard by surge of coronavirus infections

At current pace, there could be 5,000 cases by Sept. 1, says Green

Josh Green

HONOLULU (AP) — Lt. Gov. Josh Green warned that the state’s current rate of increase in coronavirus infections could result in a significant public health impact in the next month.

Green said hospitals could soon be filled with COVID-19 patients, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.

“At this current trajectory, we’ll have 5,000 cases by Sept. 1,” said Green, who is also an emergency room physician on Hawaii island.

The state-wide count of confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak was 2,448 on Monday, with cases more than doubling since the beginning of July. A new single-day record of 207 cases was reported Monday, including seven on Maui. Triple-digit increases were logged for several days last week.

There could be 3,000 new cases in the next month, with about 11 percent requiring hospital care, Green said.

State and county leaders have called for reinstating health rules limiting the size of public gatherings, closing bars and other restrictions on activities that could spread the virus.

“If we don’t get it under control, there will certainly be statewide calls for closures and for a shutdown,” Green said. “The alternative is a gigantic surge that could very well overwhelm several of our hospitals.”

DeWolfe Miller, an epidemiologist and University of Hawaii professor, agreed with the possibility of a surge in virus cases.

“We’re in really big trouble,” Miller said. “It won’t take very long before you’ll have so many cases you can’t do contact tracing. It’ll just be overwhelming.”

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

* The Maui News contributed to this report.

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