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Monday, December 6, 2021
Two More Omicron Cases Detected in Hawaii
By News Release @ 8:34 PM :: 3396 Views :: Honolulu County, COVID-19


Meanwhile: WHO says no deaths reported from Omicron yet as Covid variant spreads

News Release from Hawaii DoH, Dec 6, 2021

HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) reports two additional confirmed Omicron variant COVID-19 cases and several possible points of exposure in Hawai‘i.

“It is imperative that all Hawai‘i residents work together to limit the spread of the Omicron variant,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble. “These additional cases and points of exposure show that Omicron is in our community, and the best thing we can do is to get vaccinated, continue to wear a mask and get tested if you feel ill or had contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.”

DOH’s State Laboratories Division (SLD) confirmed two additional Omicron variant cases, both in O‘ahu residents. Neither of these cases reported travel outside of the state. Both of the cases confirmed today were fully vaccinated and reported mild to moderate symptoms. Neither is hospitalized. Possible links to the case confirmed last week are being investigated.

SLD is also in the process of sequencing an additional eight COVID-19 specimens received since Friday with a “molecular clue” suggesting possible Omicron variant. SLD is also performing enhanced molecular surveillance of neighbor island specimens this week to look for Omicron, but at this time, no Omicron cases have been confirmed outside of O‘ahu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has notified DOH that Hawai‘i residents were on the attendee list at a New York City anime convention associated with Omicron variant cases reported in other states. The exact number of attendees has not yet been confirmed, but a dozen or more Hawai‘i residents may have attended the convention. DOH will be contacting convention attendees who have returned to the state to assess for symptoms and to ensure access to testing.

DOH is also issuing guidance to members of an O‘ahu church because of the imminent health threat posed by the Omicron variant. Members of Christ Embassy Hawai‘i and members of the public who attended events organized by Christ Embassy on or after November 23 are being urged to test for COVID-19. While the church is headquartered in Waipahu, events related to the organization are held across O‘ahu. Events include a recent outreach event in Kalihi near the Mayor Wright Homes.

“DOH only discloses case locations when there is an imminent risk to public health. Based on the findings of our investigation, we believe disclosure is warranted to prevent further transmission of the Omicron variant,” Dr. Kemble continued.

One person who tested positive for the Omicron variant is believed to have attended Christ Embassy events and DOH has reason to believe that there are several more positive cases associated with the church. Several members of Christ Embassy church recently traveled to a country identified by the CDC as having a high risk for Omicron variant cases. 

Individuals who attended Christ Embassy events since November 23 should get tested for COVID-19. They should also closely monitor themselves for symptoms including fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat or loss of taste or smell. If symptoms develop, they are advised to self-quarantine and seek medical consultation, for more on symptoms: DOH continues to attempt to make contact with Christ Embassy leadership.

DOH asks for your help and cooperation. If you are contacted by DOH, please assist our contact tracers to prevent spread of COVID-19. DOH staff will work with anyone who tests positive to minimize their risk of exposing others and can assist with accessing care, including monoclonal antibody treatment to decrease severity of illness. For more, view

SA: Hawaii health officials find 2 more omicron infections; investigate 8 additional possible cases

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News Release from Hawaii DoH, Dec 3, 2021

HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i Department of Health’s State Laboratories Division (SLD) is performing whole genome sequencing on three COVID-19 specimens with molecular clues indicating they may be the Omicron variant.

“We remind everyone that wearing masks, avoiding large gatherings and getting vaccinated will keep them safe,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char, FACEP.

“We can’t yet say these specimens are Omicron cases, but we believe Omicron is already moving through the community. Our only confirmed Omicron case involves an individual with no known travel history. That leads us to believe it is a case of community transmission,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble.

DOH advises anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home and avoid contact with other people. Anyone with symptoms should get tested. Anyone who comes in contact with a known positive should get tested 5 to 7 days after exposure. Unvaccinated people who come in contact with a known positive should quarantine at home for ten days even if they have tested negative.

Additional information will be released when whole genome sequencing is complete.

Information on free testing and vaccines is available at

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News Release from Hawaii DoH, Dec 2, 2021

HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i Department of Health’s (DOH) State Laboratories Division (SLD) confirms the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.529, also known as the Omicron variant, has been detected in the islands.

“This isn’t reason for panic, but it is reason for concern. It’s a reminder the pandemic is ongoing. We need to protect ourselves by getting vaccinated, wearing masks, distancing as best we can and avoiding large crowds,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char, FACEP.

On Monday, Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc. (DLS) identified a specimen with a molecular clue indicating it may be Omicron. The State Laboratories Division performed expedited whole genome sequencing and today determined the specimen is the Omicron variant.

The COVID-19 positive individual is an O‘ahu resident with moderate symptoms who had previously been infected with COVID-19, but was never vaccinated.

This is a case of community spread. The individual has no history of travel.

The Omicron variant has been detected in at least 23 countries and at least two other states.

“Throughout the pandemic, DOH’s state lab has been a leader in conducting COVID-19 genomic sequencing, which is how the Omicron variant was identified. Our surveillance system is working. This announcement serves as a reminder to be extremely careful to protect ourselves and our loved ones, especially during the holiday season,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble.

“Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc. (DLS) has worked closely with the Department of Health since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Dr. Chris Whelen, Vice President and Technical Director for Microbiology and Molecular Diagnostics. “When we detected the spike gene drop-out, which is a molecular clue that the virus might be the omicron variant, we immediately reported it to DOH State Laboratories and sent them the sample for sequencing.”

Anyone contacted by a case investigator from DOH is asked to please cooperate in an effort to slow the transmission of COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms is asked to get tested and avoid other people. Unvaccinated people who come in close contact with COVID-19 positive individuals are advised to get tested.

Information on free testing and vaccines is available at

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KHON: The new variant was found in an unvaccinated adult resident under the age of 65 who was previously infected with the coronavirus in 2020

SA: 1st confirmed case of omicron variant detected in Hawaii, state health officials say

CB: First Omicron Covid Variant Case Is Detected In Hawaii


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