Dr. Scott Miscovich has expressed his concern about the recent outbreak at a nursing home in Hilo, stating that it highlights the fact that the threat of COVID-19 is not over yet. He notes that despite the end of the federal public health emergency for COVID-19 on May 11, major changes have been made to the funding of tools such as testing, vaccinations, and face masks. However, Covid-19 patients are still showing up at his urgent care clinic on Oahu, with many outbreaks and clusters occurring across Hawaii and the country.
One worrying trend that Miscovich has observed is the removal of masks in medical settings. While some facilities have relaxed their mask policies, such as Hawaii Pacific Health’s medical centers and clinics, which now make mask-wearing optional in public common areas, intensive care units, oncology and infusion centers, and areas serving immunocompromised and oncology patients continue to require masks.
Miscovich believes that medical facilities should be safe places, and therefore, masks are still 100% required in his own offices and clinics. He stresses the importance of protecting kupuna and immunocompromised individuals, as the data from study after study proves that N95 masks work.
In terms of COVID-19 cases in Hawaii, the Department of Health reported an average of 83 new coronavirus cases per day for seven days, with an average positive rate of 6.3%. The average number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals per week was 50, with an average of 4 in intensive care. Unfortunately, eight more people died, all in Kupuna over the age of 60, bringing the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 1,904.
Miscovich voices concern about public apathy and the reality of “blind driving” as many counties and states halt COVID-19 surveillance altogether, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rationalize data bottom. Thus, he stresses the importance of individual responsibility in protecting ourselves and our families.