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Hawaii reports record-high 1,678 cases of COVID, 2 deaths

August 29, 2021 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii reported nearly 1,700 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, a record high, but said the count included a backlog from one lab.

The Hawaii Department of Health reported 1,678 cases, which included a partial catch-up of reporting after one lab experienced system errors from Aug. 15 to Aug. 25. The state said in a statement that the issue has been resolved and is indicative of the intense strain on the state’s health infrastructure.

The state saw 10,817 new confirmed cases documented in the last 14 days.

“This tidal wave of cases is straining our ability to respond at all levels — our hospitals, our labs and even our morgues are nearing or at capacity,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “We have not yet reached the peak of this surge, and we will not until Hawaii residents take further steps to protect themselves and their families.”

Hawaii also reported two additional deaths on Sunday; two women older than 60 with underlying health conditions.

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That brings the state’s totals since the pandemic began to 62,229 cases and 589 deaths, according to the state dashboard.

On Saturday, hundreds of people — many of whom described themselves as University of Hawaii freshmen — went to a party at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline despite restrictions on large gatherings, according to a state Department of Land and Natural Resources statement. Authorities broke up the party and four people were cited for unpermitted generators and sound equipment in the park.

Jason Redulla, who works for the department, expressed outrage that people would organize or attend a large party given the surge in COVID-19 cases.

“I’ve instructed my officers, going forward, to confiscate any equipment or supplies used for these gatherings,” Redulla said. “If the loss of personal property, taken for evidence in criminal prosecutions, is not enough to get these people to start acting responsibly, we hope it doesn’t take their friends or loved ones getting sick or dying to wake them up.”