An 11th service member has died from COVID-19 complications, the Hawaii National Guard confirmed Nov. 17.
A 52-year-old Air Guardsman died within a week of diagnosis, HING said in a release.
“Sadly, the Hawaii National Guard lost a member of our ohana and our heartfelt condolences and thoughts of aloha are with the family and friends during this very difficult time,” Maj. Gen. Kenneth S. Hara, Hawaii’s adjutant general, said. “This personal loss reminds us that Hawaii needs everyone to comply with safe practices to prevent further spread of this deadly disease.”
Following the death, it took several days to be reported up the chain of command, showing up in the Defense Department’s official count on Friday. Hawaii Air National Guard policy does not allow for releasing any identifying information, a spokesman told Military Times.
As of Monday morning, just under 75,000 service members have tested positive for COVID-19, according to DoD, with 821 hospitalizations, 11 deaths and 46,102 recoveries.
While the number of severe cases among service members has stayed exponentially lower than the rate among the general U.S. population ― where the death rate stands at 2 percent ― the services have seen an uptick in deaths in recent weeks.
Where most of the pandemic has seen one or, at most, two service member deaths a month, the Hawaii Guardsman is the third death in less than three weeks. following zero deaths in October and two in all of September.
Since March, one active-duty service member has died, a chief who was assigned to the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt as a shipboard outbreak resulted in more than 1,000 infections.
The 10 remaining deaths include exclusively reserve-component troops, including now two Air Guardsmen, two Army Guardsmen and six Army Reserve members.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.