Live Stream: Kula Therapist Tests Positive, Maui Hospital Update, Kona Cluster Update

April 14, 2020, 2:26 PM HST · Updated April 14, 5:36 PM
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April 14, 2020: COVID-19 Update.Guest speakers: Lt. Governor Josh GreenDr. Bruce Anderson, Director DOH Hilton Raethel, President & CEO, Healthcare Association of Hawaii.

Posted by Governor David Ige on Tuesday, April 14, 2020

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*Video courtesy Gov. David Ige / Facebook 

Governor David Ige holds a press conference at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.  In addition to the governor, updates will be provided by: Lt. Governor Josh Green; Dr. Bruce Anderson, Director, Hawai‘i Dept. of Health (latest numbers); and Hilton Raethel, President & CEO, Healthcare Association of Hawai’i (Medical Reserve Corps, PPE supply).

Dr. Bruce Anderson, Director, Hawai‘i Dept. of Health:

Nine new cases reported within the state including eight residents and one visitor. There are also four residents that are currently out-of-state that tested positive and are included in Hawaii’s count.

Maui Hospital Cluster: Aggressively investigating every case at the hospital. Total cluster is 34.  Cases began middle of last month.  A community associated case with no travel history was one of the first cases there.  All contacts with symptoms are in isolation with other non-symptomatic in quarantine.  Additional PPE have been shipped including six pallets to the hospital. He said he is not aware of any oncology patients that have tested positive at this time.

KULA HOSPITAL PHYSICAL THERAPY WORKER TESTS POSITIVE: There is a worker at Kula Hospital that tested positive for COVID-19: The state Department of Health says they have tested 16 patients that were exposed to the physical therapy worker, and so far there have been no positive results.

Kona McDonald’s Cluster on Hawaii Island:

A cluster of cases involving 7 lab-confirmed employees at McDonald’s locations at both Kona Commons and Walmart in Kailua-Kona has been recently identified and that number may change as the investigation into the primary case and their contacts continues by DOH. Once confirmed the establishment closed its operations at both locations and is currently performing enhanced cleaning. All employees who have tested positive are in isolation and potentially exposed employees without symptoms are self-quarantined at their homes. In addition, 5 family members exposed to 2 of the confirmed employees have tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total count of this cluster to 12 at this time, including both employees (7) and their close contacts (5). The investigation is ongoing at this time and more cases may be identified related to this cluster.

Based on findings thus far, DOH does not believe this outbreak poses a risk to the general public. The department is continuing to work with the food establishment to ensure all possible precautions are being taken to prevent further spread of disease and that any close contacts of those confirmed are being closely monitored for any immediate changes to their health. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has thus far found no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.

“The health and safety of our employees and customers is our number one priority. Our organization is continuing to make changes to restaurant operations to serve food safely and conveniently with the health and well-being of restaurant employees top of mind. We have closed our Kona Commons and McDonald’s of Walmart Kona locations for deep cleaning to conduct a comprehensive sanitization of the restaurant. Our thoughts are with our crew members who have been impacted by COVID-19 and we look forward to re-opening when it is safe to do so and with the assistance of the Hawaii Department of Health in accordance with CDC regulations” said McDonald’s franchise owner, Patrick Lim of the Lim Organization.

The DOH is working closely with the Lim Organization to investigate this localized community spread of COVID-19 among all employees at the Kailua-Kona food establishment that may have been inadvertently exposed.  Fortunately, the restaurant, like many other food establishments, had previously implemented social distancing measures to protect customers and prevent exposure prior to an employee testing positive. These measures included protective clear barriers between employees and customers during all transactions. These efforts may have helped to reduce the total magnitude of this cluster.

“It worries me more than anything else is the stress it’s causing on our community,” said Dr. Anderson. “This is taking a toll,” he said, but noted that “We will get through this.”

Lt. Green’s highlights:
Lauds Work in Flattening the Curve, Warns, “Do Not Let It Get Away From Us”

There are 517 confirmed cases so far.  To date, 19,591 individuals have been tested.  “Almost every state in the country would want to have a curve like this,” said Lt. Gov. Green. He warned the public, “Do not become overconfident,” and urged adherence of the Governor’s orders through the end of the month. There are 2,773 hospital beds in Hawaii. A total of 1,354 hospital beds are occupied (or 49%).  ICU beds 89/244 adult beds are occupied (that represents 36% occupied).  Ventilators 535 available in the state. Only 39 were occupied 7.2%).  Individuals hospitalized to date for COVID-19 is 45.

Antibody tests: Discussions are currently underway.

Hilton Raethel, President & CEO, Healthcare Association of Hawai’i (Medical Reserve Corps, PPE supply)

The Medical Reserve Corps is currently seeking licensed healthcare professionals not working in critical role to serve as volunteers. This includes retired, out-of-state professionals and individuals who may have previously held a license.

More information on the Medical Reserve Corps is available at the following direct link: nlk.doh.hawaii.gov

There are 41 screening sites including 5 on Maui and 2 on Molokai and one on Lanai.

There continues to be a need for Personal Protective Equipment.

During a disaster or other emergency, volunteer health care professionals are often called upon to fulfill essential roles such as providing medical evaluation and care, vaccinations or assisting with the distribution of medications. Volunteers also support preparedness activities such as community education and training.

Gov Ige photo courtesy Hawai’i Department of Health/ Joint Information Center. (file 3.30.20)

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