BREAKING: Second Presumptive Positive Coronavirus Case Confirmed in Hawaii

March 8, 2020, 4:19 PM HST · Updated March 9, 5:56 AM
Wendy Osher · 0 Comments
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The Hawaiʻi Department of Health is announcing a second presumptive positive result for COVID-19 in the state.

An elderly resident of Oʻahu is the latest individual in Hawaiʻi to test presumptively positive for COVID-19 or coronavirus.  The individual traveled to the state of Washington and started to feel ill on March 2, 2020, according to information provided by Gov. David Ige during a press conference this evening.  The individual returned home to Hawaiʻi on March 4 aboard Hawaiian Airlines flight HA21 from Seattle to Honolulu, and immediately went to an urgent care facility, according to state officials.  The individual checked into a hospital on March 7, and a sample was taken based on his travel history to Washington.

Authorities say the man is currently at a hospital in isolation.

State officials say they are working with the CDC to get more information about this case and will be working to determine specific travels and contacts.  Authorities will be reaching out to those who may have had any exposure.  State health officials say the man was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

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Health officials say the Oʻahu hospital has taken protective and preventive measures and is working with healthcare workers to ensure health and safety. Information is still being gathered and as more information becomes available, the public will be advised.

The Department of Health has notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is working with them.  CDC procedures includes a notification of plane records for individuals who could potentially be at risk.  This includes individuals who were seated in the same row and up to two rows ahead or behind of the individual on the plane.

The Department of Health plans to follow up with close contacts in Hawaiʻi.  Information is still being gathered and the investigation is ongoing.

A press conference (***Click here for a live feed courtesy KHON2 News) started at 5 p.m. this evening (Sunday, March 8, 2020).  Governor David Ige, Health Director Bruce Anderson and State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park are among those who provided further details about the newest case.

Kaiser Permanente Statement – 3/8/20

Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi released a statement this evening saying they are working closely with federal, state and local health officials on the COVID-19 situation. “Health care facilities across the country and in Hawaiʻi can expect to see more cases as this outbreak evolves,” KP representatives said.

Per CDC infection control protocol, KP acknowledged that Kaiser Permanente has one coronavirus patient in isolation and as previously reported, is also overseeing the care of a patient who is home in self-isolation.  We know from Health officials that both presumptive positive cases in Hawaiʻi involve patients who are on the island of Oʻahu.

“Kaiser Permanente has confronted highly infectious diseases for years. Staff are following CDC protocols and we’re confident we can safely treat patients who’ve been infected with this virus, with limited risk to other patients, members, and employees,” the statement read.

“To support the Department of Health’s confidential investigation process and out of respect for the privacy of patients, we are not providing detailed information about patients who are suspected or confirmed for COVID-19,” according to the KP statement.

Hawaiʻi’s First Presumptive Positive COVID-19 Case Involved Individual who Had Recently Returned from a Cruise Aboard the Grand Princess to Mexico:

Hawaiʻi’s first presumptive positive COVID-19 case was announced on Friday and involved an Oʻahu resident who had been a passenger aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that traveled to Mexico in February.

The patient identified on Friday, was on a voyage that started on Feb. 11 and concluded on Feb. 21, 2020.   The individual disembarked in Mexico and flew to Honolulu, where they became ill and sought medical care here. State officials say the individual remains at home under quarantine.

After concluding the Mexico cruise, that particular cruise ship later conducted a separate cruise that traveled within the Hawaiian Islands, stopping at four ports while here. To date, there have been 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (19 crew members and 2 passengers) on the Grand Princess cruise ship that made port calls to Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauaʻi on Feb. 26, Honolulu Harbor on Feb. 27, Lahaina, Maui on Feb. 28, and Hilo on Feb. 29. The ship is currently held off the coast of California and additional testing of all passengers and crew is pending.

State health officials say the public is advised that “exposure risk to tour operators and other hospitality services who interact with visitors on cruises is low.”

“Companies should work on finding out which specific employees actually had close contact (close personal face-to-face contact for more than 10 minutes) with Grand Princess cruise passengers. DOH is contacting companies to gather this information. Companies are advised to notify their workers that there have been individuals from the Grand Princess cruise who were diagnosed with COVID-19 and the overall risk to hospitality workers is low,” state officials said in their latest daily update.

County of Maui Encourages Precautions for COVID-19
*(The below information was provided by the County of Maui).

The County of Maui is encouraging all residents, especially older adults and those with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, to take extra precautions to help ensure their protection from COVID-19.

“I continue to encourage our community to remain calm, but also ask those most vulnerable to consider staying at home a little more, avoid anyone who is sick and wash your hands often,” Mayor Michael Victorino said in a press release on Sunday afternoon. “The health and safety of our kupuna is incredibly important, and everyone can do their part to protect their loved ones.”

The Centers for Disease Control provides the following recommendations for those who may have a higher risk of getting sick from COVID-19:

  • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications. If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
  • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
  • Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for at least 14 days. (The public is discouraged from hoarding supplies.)
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible and keep space between yourself and others
  • Take everyday preventive actions, such as washing hands often and avoid touching your face, nose and eyes.
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people. Try to use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.If you do get sick, the CDC recommends that you stay at home and call your doctor to let them know about your symptoms. Emergency warning signs could include: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse and bluish lips or face.“If you or your loved ones are more susceptible to the coronavirus, I encourage you to prepare a plan and talk with your doctor,” Mayor Victorino said.

State COVID-19 Daily Update:
*(The below information was provided by the Hawai’i Department of Health).

State Laboratories Division testing

The Hawaiʻi Department of Health is capable of conducting in-state testing for up to 250 individuals per week for COVID-19. Results can be ready within 24-48 hours of a sample being collected. This enhances the state’s prevention and mitigation response capabilities to further safeguard the health of people in Hawaiʻi. It is anticipated that private and clinical labs in California and Hawaiʻi may have testing capability as early as next week.

 

COVID-19 Summary of Numbers as of March 8, 2020
(updated as new information becomes available)

Number of Presumptive Positive or Confirmed Case(s)  2
Number of Persons Under Investigation (current, testing pending)
Number of Persons Under Investigation (closed, testing negative)15
Number of Persons Under Quarantine  0
Number of Persons Self-Monitoring with DOH supervision75

 

Of the 75 individuals who are self-monitoring with public health supervision, 68 are on Oʻahu, 2 are on Hawaiʻi Island, 4 are on Maui, and 1 is on Kauaʻi. These numbers fluctuate often as travelers arrive, depart, or begin and end their self-monitoring with supervision by DOH.

 

  • Presumptive Positive: A presumptive positive result is when a patient has tested positive by a public health laboratory, but results are pending confirmation at CDC. For public health purposes, a presumptive positive result using the CDC test is treated as a positive.
  • 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.

 

Guidance for schools and childcare programs

The CDC recently posted interim guidance for administrators of childcare programs and K-12 schools to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19. School closures have taken place in Japan and South Korea.

 

Business continuity planning

State and county agencies are actively preparing for continuity of business operations to deal with the potential impact of COVID-19. The goal is to enable ongoing operations during a public health emergency. To address concerns about workers who have traveled to China, DOH developed a list of frequently asked questions and answers to guide local businesses.

 

National travel advisories

Before traveling, review Travel Advisories and Alerts for destination(s) at www.travel.state.gov/destination. The State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide specific advice to travelers on their websites.

 

Precautions for Elderly

The Department of Health is advising elderly and individuals with chronic health conditions to avoid large gatherings and avoid non-essential travel at this time.

 

Preventing the spread of misinformation and disease

The Department of Health is committed to sharing information as it becomes available. People are urged not to spread misinformation or inaccurate statements that are not confirmed, and keep updated and informed on the situation. Everyone can help prevent the spread of respiratory illness with these everyday actions.

 

  • 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.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from illnesses, including COVID-19. Keep in mind that supplies are limited and we need to make sure there are enough masks for our front-line health care workers. If you are sick then wear a mask to protect the people around you.
  • Prepare for the possibility that people may want to stay home or may be asked to stay home to prevent the spread of illness.
    • If you have daily medication needs, have more than a week’s supply on hand and have as much on hand as your insurance will allow you to have.
    • Not everyone can afford to stock up on supplies or has the space to store them, but anything you can arrange in advance means one less inconvenience or one less trip to the store while you are sick.
    • Make family plans for the possibility of school or day care closures. Do some contingency planning in advance at the family level.
  • Sign up for public notifications at health.hawaii.gov/news/covid-19-updates.

 

Screening of arriving passengers at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu

 

Foreign nationals who have traveled to mainland China and Iran within the last 14 days are being denied entry into the U.S. This includes not only people with a China or Iran passport, but all foreign nationals per Department of Homeland Security guidance. The exception is U.S. citizens, legal permanent U.S. residents or their immediate family.

 

Enhanced screening procedures are in place at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport for passengers who have traveled to China and Iran within the last 14 days. Airport passenger screening continues to be conducted by federal authorities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Hawaii reports second COVID-19 case.

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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