BREAKING: Hale Makua Health Services Impacted by COVID-19 Positive Cases

April 15, 2020, 2:42 PM HST · Updated April 17, 10:59 AM
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Hale Makua Health Services received word from the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health that one Home Health patient has tested COVID-19 positive, and that one nursing home resident at the Kahului facility tested positive for COVID-19 as well.

Hale Makua Reports that the nursing home resident was potentially exposed to COVID-19 during their stay at the Maui Memorial Medical Center prior to being admitted to Hale Makua Kahului. A total of six nursing home residents were tested.  Five tests came back negative for COVID-19.

“We just learned this morning that one of the individuals who was sent to that facility was positive,” said state Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson in an afternoon press conference.  “And of course Hale Makua is actively assuring that the individual is isolated and that others in the hospital are not at any risk.”

The nursing home resident who tested positive for COVID-19 had received a negative test result on April 9, 2020.  Because this individual was treated on the MMMC unit with the COVID-19 positive cluster of workers, the resident was re-tested on April 13, 2020, which resulted in the current positive received today, April 15, 2020. The resident is currently asymptomatic and in isolation.

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On April 11, 2020, Hale Makua Health Services was notified by DOH that six nursing home residents were potentially exposed to COVID-19.  Since then the resident noted above had a second test administered, which came back positive. The five other nursing home residents recently admitted from MMMC tested negative, have been in isolation since April 12, 2020, are being retested for COVID-19, and are currently asymptomatic. As per DOH’s recommendation, all of these residents have been moved to a separate wing for 14-day quarantine in private rooms with droplet precautions. All residents and staff who may have been exposed will be tested for COVID-19.

“We’ve been working with Hale Makua to review their infection control procedures.  Fortunately it’s a facility that’s spread out and individuals there can be isolated reasonably well.  In this situation, we understand that there were individuals co-mingling to some extent, and we’re of course following up and identifying any who may have come into contact with the one individual who has tested positive,” said Dr. Anderson.  “But he is being isolated now and certainly the infection control procedures are in place that should protect others from being exposed and becoming infected.”

Home Health by Hale Makua is caring for its first positive COVID-19 patient. This patient presented with symptoms of COVID-19 after being discharged from the hospital, and was under observation by the DOH until being released from isolation on April 14, 2020.  Out of an abundance of caution, all employees who had any contact with the patient are also self-isolating and have been tested for COVID-19.

“Our goal is always to ensure that we protect the health and safety of all those in our care so that we may continue providing services in the most appropriate care setting for our kupuna. We stand beside our employees, residents, patients and community members, to provide support and guidance in any way we can. We have already implemented many measures to ensure the safety and protection of all those in our care.” states Hale Makua Health Services CEO, Wesley Lo.

At Hale Makua nursing home and adult residential care home precautions include:

  • Staff and vendors screened for respiratory symptoms and/or fever prior to entering the campuses since early March.
  • All new admissions have been admitted to West neighborhood in Kahului since March 23.
  • All employees have been required to wear face masks since April 2.
  • All employees providing care to residents who may have been exposed to COVID-19 have been following appropriate PPE protocols since April 11, when the organization was notified by DOH of potential COVID-19 exposure.
  • Visitors have been prohibited, except in certain circumstances deemed appropriate by an Administrator. Creative ways to keep residents in touch with loved ones have been implemented.
  • Employees who work in other healthcare settings are temperature checked at the start and end of shift, in addition to wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout their shift at Hale Makua.
  • High touch surfaces are wiped down frequently.

At Home Health by Hale Makua precautionary measures to keep patients healthy, safe, and out of the hospital include:

  • Continuing to provide education to staff and patients about preventative measures like social distancing, proper hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection protocols.
  • Conducting staff meetings remotely instead of in person
  • Increasing the use of teleworking among staff
  • Providing increased support to our patients and families by telephone or telehealth calls.
  • Preadmission screening protocols
  • Staff screening protocols
  • Pre-visit screening protocols for the entire household
  • Pandemic visit protocols, to include limiting nonessential persons from the visit, source control, distancing, and appropriate use of PPE.
  • Training our staff to provide COVID-19 specific education to all high risk patients and household members.

Lo said, “I would like to give a heartfelt ‘thanks’ our dedicated employees who have gone above and beyond to meet the challenges of this crisis, and are the heart of our workforce. Because of them we are doing all that we can to fight COVID-19, and protect our residents, patients and each other. We are stronger together. And together we will get through this crisis, helping each other and our Maui community.”

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