Maui Hospital Coronavirus Cluster Rises to 19: Includes 3 More Employees and 1 Patient

April 10, 2020, 1:28 PM HST · Updated April 11, 12:38 PM
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The cluster of COVID-19 positive cases at Maui Memorial Medical Center increased from 15 to 19 today with news that there are three additional employees and one patient confirmed to have the virus.

Maui Health reported the additional cases this afternoon in accordance with CDC infection control protocol. According to Maui Health, the employees who have tested positive over the past three weeks are in home-isolation, and all are in good condition.

“We are working closely with federal, state and local public health agencies to notify all those who may have come in contact with these employees,” according to Maui Health.

“We are continually impressed with the dedication and commitment from our staff, caregivers and physicians. Our heartfelt wishes go to our employees and patients who contracted COVID-19 and wish them speedy recovery,” said Mike Rembis, CEO Maui Health.

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Maui Health tested 126 patients, caregivers and physicians this week, for COVID-19 infection. Maui Health administrators say this was done “in an abundance of caution.”

So far, results for 24 individuals have been returned, which included the four positive cases mentioned above. Additional results are expected over the next few days and will be shared when available.

In addition to the new COVID-19 cases, Maui Health also acknowledged the death of another patient. According to Maui Health, the death occurred on April 7 and involved a patient in the hospital’s chronic care unit. “Our sincere condolences go out to their family and friends,” said administrators with Maui Health.

Some employees at the Maui hospital reached out to Maui Now expressing frustration over the early guidelines regarding the non-use of masks in areas that were not treating COVID-19 patients; and say more precautions earlier on could have provided greater protection.

A nurse speaking under the condition of anonymity said they were told that they could not wear their own PPE and if they did disciplinary action would occur. It is unclear what department they are employed at the hospital.

Maui Health maintains that Maui Memorial Medical Center “is and has been following CDC guidelines” regarding the use of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. “As the guidelines have evolved our protocols have changed to align with the new recommendations,” Maui Health reports.

Currently staff are being issued a mask at the start of each shift and will receive an additional mask if theirs becomes soiled or damaged. “For the health and safety of all staff and patients we need to ensure that every piece of safety equipment is suitable and appropriate. N95 masks must be fit tested and this fitting differs by brand so using MMMC issued equipment ensures the best fit and improves safety for all. We now do allow staff to bring in their own masks but require them to use hospital-issued N95 masks in COVID-19 patient care areas,” according to information provided by Maui Health.

“In addition to masks, we have enhanced cleaning protocols in place and added temperature screenings for employees and visitors. We are doing everything we can to protect and safeguard our patients and their caregivers,” Maui Health reports.

“While we cannot comment on personnel matters, we are committed to supporting our employees, keeping them safe, and helping them through this pandemic,” according to Maui Health.

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