Hawai‘i’s Coronavirus Total Now 14: Includes Big Island’s First and One More on Maui

March 17, 2020, 2:44 PM HST · Updated March 17, 7:33 PM
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March 17, 2020: #LIVE news conference regarding 15 days to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Posted by Governor David Ige on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

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The state Department of Health is reporting that that the Big Island of Hawaiʻi has its first confirmed COVID-19 case.  As of 2:45 p.m., there were four new cases–two additional presumptive positive cases on Oʻahu, an additional case on Maui, and a single case on Hawaiʻi Island, bringing the state total to 14. (scroll down for list) State officials will address the new cases during a 3 p.m. press briefing today.

Governor Ige is implementing a host of new directives (scroll down to see complete list) in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi.    “The situation is changing hour by hour,” said Gov. Ige as he called for all bars and clubs to be closed. He is also asking restaurants to pivot to drive through operations, pickup or delivery service only.

Gov. Ige is calling for the closure of theaters and visitor attractions; asking the public to avoid discretionary travel; and recommending the suspension of large gatherings at places of worship, limiting groups to no more than 10 individuals.

He is strongly discouraging visitors from travel for the next 30 days.  Beginning Friday, all cruise ship passengers will be screened on arrival to include temperature checks. Plans for airports are currently being developed.

Non-essential state employees are being instructed to work from home for 15 days.  Non-essential travel for these employees is being stopped for the 15 day period with the exception of the state Department of Education.

“There has been no impact to the supply chain,” said Gov. Ige emphasized as he was questioned about hoarding concerns and empty store shelves.

In terms of hotels, Gov. Ige said the visitor industry is making adjustments as appropriate and has asked them to limit interactions.

As of 2 p.m. on March 17, 2020 there is a total of 14 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i. Four new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were identified: Two on O‘ahu, one on Hawai‘i Island and one on Maui. DOH is gathering more information on these cases.

Case 14: (information still being gathered)

Case 13: A Big Island non-resident with recent travel.

Case 11 & 12: Two Oʻahu residents who traveled to the Philippines and Japan

Case 10: A visitor to Maui.  Executives with the Westin Nanea Ocean Ocean Villas, a Marriott Bonvoy property located in Kāʻanapali, confirmed that an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 is a guest. The resort notified owners and guests of the situation on Monday.  Plans are to relocate the infected individual to another facility for isolation.

Case 9: An Oʻahu resident. The following message is from Hawaii Pacific Health President & CEO Ray Vara posted to the company’s social media accounts at 8:30 p.m. on Monday, March 16, 2020: “A health care worker at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children has tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The health care worker traveled to the mainland and began experiencing symptoms after returning to Oʻahu, and is currently in self-quarantine. We have been working closely with the Hawaiʻi Department of Health to trace the health care worker’s interactions with any patients and other health care colleagues. This health care worker had no direct patient contact, and employees that had interactions with this worker have been notified. We understand that there will be concern in the community. We are following CDC protocols and procedures and taking every precaution necessary to ensure the health and safety of our patients, visitors and staff.”

Case 8: An Oʻahu resident.  According to Hawaiʻi News Now and the Honolulu Star Advertiser, a Kualoa Ranch employee with no history of out-of-state travel tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 on Sunday night.  During a question and answer portion of a briefing held on Monday, Gov. Ige could not provide specifics on the case, saying information will be shared later as it is received.  He did note that he believes the Kualoa case was one that marks community spread, where the individual was infected along with other family members.

Case 7: An Oʻahu resident returned from a trip to Florida with their entire family on March 8.  The person developed cough, but no fever on March 9.  A specimen was collected on March 10.  The person is self isolating from the rest of the family and is staying in a bedroom with a dedicated bathroom. Other family members have been advised to remain in home quarantine, isolated away from the sick individual.

Case 6: On Saturday evening, March 14, County of Maui officials were informed that the test result for one Person Under Investigation here on Maui was returned positive for Coronavirus or COVID-19. This is the first case for the island of Maui. The female visitor is currently in isolation and continues to be monitored by the state Department of Health. Health officials say the presumptive positive test result came from a private laboratory and is pending confirmation by a certified state public health laboratory. This case involves a flight attendant with Air Canada who is currently on Maui.  Gov. Ige said he believes the individual is a Canadian citizen. Symptom onset began on March 9. The last flight that the flight attendant took was March 8.  “We believe that any risk to any passengers on the previous flight is low,” said Gov. David Ige.  A specimen was collected on March 11.  The individual was exposed to a confirmed case in Germany on March 4. Because of the notification of exposure and symptoms, the flight attendant self isolated at the Royal Lahaina Resort hotel on Maui.  Following the positive result, the individual was moved by AMR to an isolation at a Lahaina clinic.

Case 5: On Saturday evening, March 14, the state Department of health received a presumptive positive test result for COVID-19 for an individual on Oʻahu.  The test result came from a private laboratory and is pending confirmation by a certified state public health laboratory.  This involves at Hawaiʻi resides on Oʻahu. The individual traveled to Colorado from Feb. 29 to March 7. Symptoms began on March 9. A specimen was collected on March 11.  The person and family members have been advised to stay at home and be in self-quarantine.  A child in the home had respiratory symptoms. A specimen was taken from the child and was confirmed to be negative for COVID-19.  The preschool that the child attends was notified that a person in the child’s home tested positive for COVID-19, but there is no risk to children or staff at the pre-school.  The child will not be returning to the preschool until after the quarantine is completed.

Case 3 & 4: On March 13, state officials confirmed that two visitors to the island of Kauaʻi (who had also visited Maui during their stay) tested positive for the coronavirus or COVID-19, becoming the third and fourth presumptive positive tests in Hawaiʻi.  Authorities have since said the couple is originally from Indiana. They stayed at a hotel in Lahaina, Maui from March 2 to 8 before traveling to Kauaʻi. Both sought urgent care while on Maui before flying to Kauaʻi.  At this time, at least three healthcare workers (one on Kauaʻi and two on Maui) have been excluded from work because of possible exposure from the couple.

Case 2: On March 8, DOH tested a second presumptive positive test result for an elderly adult who is hospitalized in serious condition on O‘ahu. The individual felt ill on March 2 in Washington State and traveled home to Honolulu on March 4.

Case 1: The first presumptive positive case was announced March 6. That individual was a passenger on the Grand Princess cruise in Mexico from Feb. 11-21. After arriving in Mexico, the individual traveled home to Honolulu with no symptoms. While home in Honolulu, the individual became ill on March 1, sought medical care and was tested on March 6.

Governor Ige announces state actions to slow the spread of COVID-19

Gov. David Y. Ige announced today state actions to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“The actions I’m announcing today may seem extreme to some of you, and we know that it will have negative effects to our economy. But we are confident that taking aggressive actions now will allow us to have a quicker recovery when this crisis is over,” said Gov. Ige.

Gov. Ige strongly encouraged our visitors to postpone their vacations for at least the next 30-days and reschedule for a later date.

Effective this Friday (March 20), screening of all passengers disembarking cruise ships will be screened. Our airports are working on implementation plans for screening arriving visitors

Gov. Ige is directing the following:

  • Limit social gatherings to groups of 10 people or less to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
  • Close bars and clubs.
  • Close restaurants or provide drive-thru, take out, pick-up, or delivery.
  • Close theatres, entertainment centers and visitor attractions.
  • Avoid any discretionary travel.
  • Suspend services and activities in places of worship.
  • Stay home if you are a high-risk individual and take additional precautionary measures.
  • Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities.
  • If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, keep the entire household at home.

Stability is also critical in this unprecedented situation.  Accordingly, the following steps have been taken:

  • All utilities have been directed to take necessary measures to ensure that they can continue to operate in the normal course.
  • Dir. Kenneth S. Hara, Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency, has the full authority to determine what constitutes critical infrastructure or essential services that will continue operations. This includes utilities, fuel producers, shipping facilities and industry, financial institutions, financial services, telecommunications companies, wholesaler or distributors, grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and other industry vital to our community.
  • For both the utilities and essential services, government resources and support can be deployed as necessary.
  • The one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits is waived for those unemployed because of COVID-19.
  • The Office of Consumer Protection is working with its Landlord Tenant Center, and effective already are emergency provisions applicable to tenants.
  • During the emergency, the following additional steps are being discussed with our community’s business partners and non-profit organizations to maintain stability for our families by:
    • Ensuring employees have benefits, even if employees are not at work.
    • Halting eviction for non-payment of rent.
    • Halting foreclosures.
    • Working with public and private utility providers to avoid shut-off of service to critical utilities such as electric, gas, water, internet, landline telephone and cell phone.

Gov. Ige has also directed all department and agency heads to review their employees and identify the following:

  1. Essential-functions (will be required to report to work)
  2. Non-essential – able to work remotely via telework (work from home)
  3. Non-essential – unable to work remotely via telework or otherwise
    1. These employees could be re-assigned to work that could be done remotely, as long as it’s in the employee’s job description and classification

For the next 15 calendar days, Gov. Ige is directing the departments to have all non-essential staff stay home. Essential workers will continue to report to work. All employees will continue to be paid and will still be eligible for sick leave, vacation and other benefits. Every employee should look to their respective department for detailed instructions.

Gov. Ige has also banned all non-essential travel for state workers, including to the Neighbor Islands.

In addition, the state is taking the following actions:

  • Temporarily closing State Libraries to public access to evaluate and adjust operations to maintain social distancing. There will be no fees for late returns and the Library online resources will still be available.
  • The Dept. of Land and Natural Resources is closing parks, offices with in-person access and large.
  • All events at the State Capitol, State Art Museum, and tours at Washington Place are suspended.
  • The Dept. of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has suspended all combat sports in Hawaii.
  • Cancelled events at Aloha Stadium and Hawaiʻi Convention Center for the next 30 days.

“It is essential that our government operations and services continue during this time, but we must keep all of our employees and community safe and healthy.  We expect more stringent actions in the days to come. These are difficult times, but Hawaiʻi has a history of coming together when faced with challenges. I’m confident that together we will rise to the task,” said Gov. Ige.

COVID-19 Recap: March 17, 2020 

*Update provided by the state Department of Health 

Proper Use of COVID-19 Tests Imperative
“There is a current shortage of hand sanitizers and toilet paper in Hawai‘i in part because of the public’s over-reaction to COVID-19,” state officials said. The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) wants to avoid having the same shortage of COVID-19 test resources by making sure the public understands how to properly utilize the newly established screening sites.

If people who are well or experiencing mild flu-like symptoms go to the screening sites, there potentially may be insufficient testing supplies for those who critically need the tests, including older adults and those with existing health conditions.

The public should heed the following steps:
First, contact your healthcare provider in advance to determine if you need to have an in-person visit with your provider.
Your provider will determine over the phone whether you meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing.
If your provider directs you to come in for a screening, bring a photo ID and insurance card.
Your provider will take a swab for testing.
The specimen will be sent to a private or state lab for the results. During this time, you are expected to self-quarantine at home until the test results are available, which could be up to 3 to 4 days.
If you are healthy or experiencing mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, DOH urges you to stay at home and avoid an unnecessary visit to a screening site. The screening sites are only for those who are severely ill with COVID-19 symptoms.

Postpone or Cancel In-Person Events
The Hawai‘i Department of Health recommends postponing or canceling in-person events involving 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. Consider using technology to hold virtual meetings or other means when feasible.

It is important to note these are recommendations to encourage best practices for social distancing; not mandates. Businesses and organizations have the option to hold group events and meetings at their own discretion, keeping in mind that attendees should be two-arms-length or six feet apart when possible. Seniors and those with underlying health conditions who are at a greater risk for COVID-19 or respiratory illnesses should avoid attending public gatherings altogether.

Cruise Ship Being Rerouted
The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) Harbors Division and the U.S. Coast Guard are continuing coordination with Holland America Line’s Maasdam cruise ship, which is on its way to Hawai‘i. Initially, the Maasdam had a port call for Hilo, however that reservation has been canceled. HDOT is currently working to direct the ship to Honolulu Harbor so that disembarking passengers will have various flight options for departure out of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL). To date, there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 associated with the ship. It is important to note that the Maasdam will have been at sea longer than the 14-day incubation period prior to arriving in the Hawaiian Islands. Prior to port, all ships are required to call in advance with information on any symptomatic passengers. If there are concerns about passengers who are ill, the ship will be held out of port.

2-1-1 Call Center for Information on COVID-19
The Aloha United Way call center is open daily between 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. For information or questions about COVID-19:
Call 2-1-1 from any location in the state
Text 877-275-6569
Email [email protected]
Visit health.hawaii.gov/covid19 or coronavirus.gov

Four New Cases of COVID-19 Identified on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island
As of 2:00 p.m. on March 17, 2020 there is a total of 14 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i. Four new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were identified: Two on O‘ahu, one on Hawai‘i Island and one on Maui. DOH is gathering more information on these cases.

COVID-19 Summary of Numbers as of March 17, 2020 at 2:00 pm
(updated as new information becomes available)

Number of Confirmed or Presumptive Positive Case(s)* 14

Number of Persons Under Investigation (current, testing pending) 12

Number of Negative Test Results 93

Number of Person Self-Monitoring with DOH supervision 9

The 9 individuals who are self-monitoring with public health supervision are all on O‘ahu. These numbers fluctuate often as travelers arrive, depart, or begin and end their self-monitoring with supervision by DOH.

Confirmed: Meets CDC criteria and positive test result received from a certified laboratory such as the DOH State Laboratories Division.
*The CDC has advised states that respiratory samples positive for SARS-CoV2 in a state and public-health laboratory will be considered “positive” with no need for further testing.
Presumptive Positive: Positive test results from a private laboratory requiring confirmation by a state public health laboratory.
Persons Under Investigation (PUI): Meets CDC criteria for investigation and testing pending.
Monitoring: Individuals voluntarily remain at home and refrain from work, school, gathering places, and public transit. They communicate daily with Department of Health staff.

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