Hawaii health department warns of COVID-19 and flu outbreaks at high school dances

The Hawaii Department of Health today released a Special Edition of the COVID-19 Cluster Report regarding an outbreak of coronavirus and influenza type A linked to a high school dance on Oahu.

The DOH had stopped publishing the biweekly cluster reports in early January, but will publish one if special circumstances warrant.

“As the number of cases increased, the state noticed an increase in clusters associated with large school events,” the DOH said in the cluster report.

Health officials said in April the high school contacted the DOH for help when 37 students who attended the prom said they were sick with common respiratory symptoms.

More than 300 people, including students and chaperones, attended the ball. The DOH was able to confirm that six tested positive for COVID-19 and four tested positive for influenza A.

One of them tested positive for both COVID-19 and influenza A.

Of the six who tested positive for COVID, one was unvaccinated, four were vaccinated with the primary series, and one was vaccinated and boosted.

Most of them – 35 of the 37 with symptoms – either took a home COVID-19 test kit or went to a lab to get tested. The DOH said the number of infections was likely higher than reported due to limited testing.

About 57% of prom attendees had received an initial round of COVID vaccines, according to health officials. Those who went to the ball reported that mask use and social distancing were neither practiced nor enforced.

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