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UPDATE: No Signs of Coronavirus Spread From Japanese Visitor

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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

Below is an update on the status of the COVID-19, coronavirus, here in Hawaiʻi from the Department of Health.


The adult resident under mandatory quarantine at the Pearl Harbor quarantine center was released and reunited with his family on Saturday. During his stay in quarantine, the individual had no symptoms and was in good health. After a final temperature check, he was released today, and there is no one in Hawaiʻi under mandatory quarantine at this time.

Feb. 20 marks Japan visitor’s end date of infectious period

Feb. 20 was the last day that any individual who might have been infected by exposure to the visitor would be expected to show symptoms. At this time, there is no indication of transmission of illness related to the visitor from Japan who traveled to Hawaiʻi (Jan. 28 to Feb.6) and upon returning home to Japan was subsequently confirmed with COVID-19. To date, the Department of Health’s investigation has not yielded anyone who may have had prolonged, close contact with the visitor.


Cruise ships

American passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have been flown to bases in California and Texas for quarantine for 14 days. These actions are under federal authority and, at this time, the Department of Health does not have information on the passengers who are Hawaiʻi residents.

The Department of Health has been notified of at least four Hawaiʻi residents who were passengers on the Westerdam cruise ship (Holland America) and have returned home. DOH is in contact with these individuals and was advised that the cruise passengers are not at risk and do not pose a risk to others.

CDC laboratory test kits

Currently, all laboratory testing to confirm COVID-19 is being conducted at the CDC laboratory in Atlanta, Georgia. The test kits sent to state laboratories, including Hawaiʻi, had an issue with negative control primer probe sets included in each kit. New test kits are being developed by the CDC. It is estimated that Hawaii may be ready to conduct testing in early to mid-March. DOH has offered to be a beta-tester for the new kits to ensure they work properly. If Hawaii becomes a beta-tested, it means our state may have earlier access to the testing process.


Per CDC guidelines, testing is only conducted on individuals who meet the criteria as a Person of Interest (PUI), who exhibit symptoms of respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath) and have traveled to China within the past 14 days.

To date, there have been no samples sent to CDC from Hawaiʻi since no individuals have been identified who meet the CDC criteria for testing.

No cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaii at this time

Currently, there are no cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaiʻi. DOH is actively preparing for possible cases and working with state, county, and federal partners including the medical community in Hawaiʻi. The following summary as of Feb. 22 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. These numbers fluctuate often as travelers arrive, depart, or begin and end their self-monitoring with supervision by DOH.

COVID-19 Summary of Numbers as of Feb. 21, 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  0
Number of Persons Self-Monitoring with DOH supervision 69

Of the 69 individuals who are self-monitoring with public health supervision, 59 are on Oʻahu, 8 are on Hawaiʻi Island and 2 are on Maui.

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.

The department is urging the public to avoid spreading misinformation or inaccurate statements that are not confirmed, and to keep updated and informed on the situation.

Here is a list of measures the department recommends to avoid the spread of illness:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household
    cleaning spray or wipe.

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