Hawaii sees increase in COVID-19 omicron variant cases

March 31, 2022 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — Mirroring much of the U.S. and the world, Hawaii is seeing an uptick in the more transmissible BA.2 omicron variant.

According to a state Department of Health report, BA.2 now makes up four out of every 10 new coronavirus cases in Hawaii.

Health officials estimated that BA.2 grew from 13% two weeks ago to 40% of variants circulating in the state, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday.

“So it’s 40% now, and theoretically around two weeks from now it will be double that,” said Edward Desmond, State Laboratories Division administrator, explaining that the variant is expected to double about every two weeks. “I expect it will become prevalent within the coming months for sure.”

The state recently dropped longstanding rules that required travelers to be either fully vaccinated or show a negative test upon arrival to avoid quarantine. It was the only state in the U.S. to have such travel rules.

Gov. David Ige also dropped Hawaii’s indoor mask mandate last week, the final state in the U.S. to do so.

The state’s overall positivity rate and case counts have also been rising in recent weeks.