Hawaii health officials warn of groups involving luaus and performing arts

Hawaii health officials warn of groups involving luaus and performing arts

In all, 19 confirmed cases were associated with the vocal instructor, health officials said, due to inconsistent mask use by the instructor, and no mask use by students. The third adult, a vocal instructor who taught at the center and at home, ended up infecting seven out of nine students, according to the health department. The instructor wore a mask during lessons, but took it off to demonstrate proper singing techniques. Students, on the other hand, did not wear a mask when singing.

DOH also investigated another cluster on Oahu involving a performing arts center that resulted in 25 COVID-19 cases. They recommended that the production increase airflow in its dressing areas, and that dancers spend less time unmasked. No additional cases were reported after these changes were implemented and enforced, health officials said in the report, which reflects clusters under investigation in the past 14 days.

In this cluster, three adults infected with COVID-19 interacted with performing arts students, resulting in the infection of three dance students by two adults at two different dance sessions. Officials said two dancers from the luau production who tested positive for COVID-19 transmitted the virus to others while doing their makeup unmasked, changing costumes, and spending more than 15 minutes in dressing areas.

On Oahu, the Health Department is also investigating a cluster involving restaurants that resulted in 38 coronavirus cases, along with three clusters at “other occupational settings,” a category that includes offices, retail establishments and first responders, resulting in 44 cases. On Maui County, the highest number of cases, 98, has resulted from four clusters in the travel, lodging and tourism category. All contacts of the vocal instructor who were fully vaccinated, however, tested negative for COVID-19.

Officials said this cluster is consistent with other cases demonstrating the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be highly transmissible during singing. Students that got infected ended up infecting their household members.

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