Lānaʻi tops state for weekly average of new COVID-19 cases per capita; county vows to provide tests
As Lānaʻi deals with the highest seven-day average of daily new cases per capita in the state, Maui County’s administration said it will continue to make COVID-19 testing accessible.
“The greatest need we see moving forward is testing,” Maui County Deputy Managing Director Josiah Nishita said.
Lānaʻi’s seven-day average of daily new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population is 86.6, according to the most recent state Department of Health data. It’s followed by Maui, which is 44.9, Kauaʻi, 37.9, and Oʻahu, 33.2.
The latest weekly count includes 468 cases on Maui, 565 on Hawaiʻi Island, 233 on Kauaʻi, nine on Molokaʻi, 25 on Lānaʻi, and 94 out of state. There are 2,855 new COVID-19 cases on Oʻahu, according to weekly data released on Wednesday.
More than 7,500 COVID-19 test kits were being prepared to go to Lānaʻi on Friday for free distribution to address the surge in cases, according to Nishita.
Nishita testified at Maui County Council’s meeting on a resolution seeking the council’s blessing to distribute to the public through the end of this year any surplus of at-home test kits, personal protective equipment and other COVID-19 supplies. Resolution 22-110 was referred to committee.
The official said the county’s greatest need through the rest of the year is access to testing resources.
“Our COVID-19 proclamation ended in March of this year; however, COVID-19 variants and subvariants continue to circulate and affect our residents,” he said. “While we are in a much better position today to deal with surges, there are community members, providers and organizations still in need, and this resolution does help to provide us the opportunity to continue to help them.”
Currently, the county administration has a surplus of test kits from the federal government. In the past, the county has given away county assets, and it is seeking to procure more tests, Nishita said.
While the county doesn’t give supplies to private businesses, it does work with the state DOH to identify nonprofit partners, medical providers, housing projects, low-income areas and sometimes even entire neighborhoods that can use the free tests.
Nishita added that over the last month, Maui County has done the most tests per capita in the state.
From April 11 until now, Maui County has done 33% more per capita than Kauaʻi, 21% more than Oʻahu and 42% more than Hawaiʻi County. The numbers don’t include the “tens of thousands of at-home tests” provided to residents over the pandemic, with more than 30,000 being distributed in the last few weeks alone, he said.