Monitoring Continues on Maui as Safeguard Amid COVID-19 Concerns

February 18, 2020, 6:38 AM HST · Updated February 18, 11:02 AM
Wendy Osher · 0 Comments
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Health officials continue to take precautions amid the COVID-19 or coronavirus outbreak in China. Here in Hawaiʻi, there are 42 people now under self-monitoring, including seven Maui residents, according to new information provided by a spokesperson with the Department of Health.

In an email communication to Maui Now, officials say the seven on Maui were identified through airport screening because they had traveled to China recently. Authorities say they have no symptoms and are voluntarily self-monitoring at home at this time.

Those under monitoring, voluntarily remain at home and refrain from work, school, gathering places, and public transit. Those being monitored communicate daily with Department of Health staff.

The location has been identified where a Japan couple stayed on Maui before they were diagnosed with the virus upon returning home.  The Diamond Resorts issued a letter to members on Sunday saying they learned from the Hawaiʻi Department of Health that a couple who visited Kāʻanapali Beach Club tested positive for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in their home country of Japan.

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That couple stayed on Maui from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 and did not have any symptoms at the time.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously outlined a 14 day observation period, and two weeks has since passed since their stay on Maui.

“We have no reason at this time to believe there was any spread of infection at Kāʻanapali as the guests displayed no symptoms during their stay between January 28 and February 3 and only became ill after leaving the resort. Public health officials have shared that they do not believe Coronavirus can be transmitted unless an individual is already demonstrating symptoms,” according to the letter to members.

In the letter to members, General Manager, Fred Mayo said, “The health and safety of our guests and staff is always our highest priority. In an abundance of caution, we are undertaking an enhanced cleaning of our entire resort at KBC. If you have any cold-like symptoms, you should stay home from work and visit your doctor. We can also help arrange free Coronavirus screening with the Hawaiʻi Health Department for anyone who may be concerned about symptoms.”

One of the individuals developed cold-like symptoms while on Oʻahu between Feb. 3-7, 2020, but no fever while there, according to health officials.

To date, no individuals with prolonged close contact have been identified in Hawaiʻi, and all casual contacts have been cleared on Maui.

Currently, there are no cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaiʻi. A single individual is under quarantine on Oʻahu at a designated facility at Pearl Harbor.

Background: Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical extracellular viral particles contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots. PC: C.S. Goldsmith and A. Tamin. Provided by: CDC/ C.S. Goldsmith and A. Tamin. Foreground: This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. PC: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM. Content provider: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS.

There is no quarantine facility identified on Maui at this time, and discussions with the county on this are currently taking place, according to the Department of Health.

In an update issued on Monday, department officials said the DOH is actively preparing for possible cases and working with state, county, and federal partners including the medical community and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Lee Weiss, Medical Director and Chairman of MMMC’s Emergency Department provided a comment via a company spokesperson saying, “While COVID-19 is a newly identified pathogen and affecting many people, this is not the time to panic. Here at Maui Memorial Medical Center we have comprehensive plans in place and are being very vigilant in our screening and care of patients.”

A hospital spokesperson said Maui Health hospitals are following CDC care and preparatory guidance in regards to COVID-19. Maui Health also maintains open communication with the Maui County EOC as well as other State and Federal partners to ensure information and preparation is as up-to-date as possible.

Should an excess of COVID-19 suspected/actual patients present to MHS, internal protocols as well as Hawaiʻi Department of Health Pandemic Response Plan would be initiated, according to a hospital spokesperson.

“Maui Memorial Medical Center is a top tier medical center that is able to provide a wide range of medical services including those with suspected or actual infectious diseases,”a hospital spokesperson said.

The following summary as of Feb. 17 shows the number of individuals being monitored or under quarantine because of their recent travel to China. These individuals were identified through screening by federal officials at the Daniel K. International Airport.

COVID-19 Summary of Numbers as of Feb. 18, 2020
(updated as new information becomes available)

Number of Confirmed Case(s): 0
Number of Persons Under Investigation (current, testing pending): 0
Number of Persons Under Investigation (closed, testing negative): 0
Number of Persons Under Quarantine: 1
Number of Persons Self-Monitoring: 42

Confirmed: Meets CDC criteria and positive test result received from a certified laboratory.
Person Under Investigation (PUI): Meets CDC criteria for investigation and testing pending.
Quarantine: Individuals are required to remain in a designated location and separated from others. They are actively monitored by Department of Health staff. Quarantine is enforceable by law.
Monitoring: Individuals voluntarily remain at home and refrain from work, school, gathering places and public transit. They communicate daily with Department of Health staff.

Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical extracellular viral particles contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots. PC: C.S. Goldsmith and A. Tamin. Provided by: CDC/ C.S. Goldsmith and A. Tamin

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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