Department of Health will halt daily COVID case reporting

The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) announced Thursday that it would stop its daily reporting of COVID cases, switching to weekly reports instead. 

COVID case rates have rapidly declined in Hawaii, falling from 324 new cases per day during the peak of the omicron variant in mid-January to eight new cases per day, according to the department’s case dashboard as of March 15. 

 

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Image: Hawaii Department of Health

 

In a short video posted along with the announcement, DOH spokesperson Brooks Baehr said that since the CDC and state monitor case trends over seven-day periods, weekly reporting would better match up those trend reports. 

Baehr also mentioned that the increased availability of at-home test kits is also affecting case counts. 

“Results from these home tests are not counted in the state data, therefore, the official case count does not reflect COVID in the community as accurately as it did in the past.”

The department will release its new weekly data report every Wednesday, available at HawaiiCOVID19.com

The decrease in case reporting frequency follows Gov. David Ige’s announcement earlier this month to lift the indoor mask mandate on March 25. Civil Beat reports that Hawaii was the last state to maintain its statewide indoor masking mandate, despite the CDC’s recommendation to loosen such measures. Case investigation guidelines among K-12 schools have also laxed in recent weeks. DOH guidance for schools as of March 8 states “individual case investigation, contact identification, and quarantine of in school exposures is no longer recommended for K-12 schools when universal indoor masking is implemented.” However, this may be subject to change once the indoor mask mandate lifts.