For First Time in Eight Weeks, No New Coronavirus Cases in Hawai‘i

May 8, 2020, 1:48 PM HST · Updated May 8, 2:16 PM
Wendy Osher · 63 Comments
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For the first time in eight weeks, there have been no new reported cases of coronavirus in Hawaiʻi.  The state’s total count remains unchanged from yesterday at 629 confirmed positive individuals.

The state began identifying cases on Feb. 28, 2020 and the last time before today that 0 new positive cases were reported was on March 13, 2020.

“While this is good news, it does not mean, in any way, the end of the COVID-19 crisis,” said state health officials. 

Hawai‘i State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said in a press release, “We have seen a steady decline in new cases over the past several weeks, although today we’re at zero, we want to maintain these declines. As businesses reopen, as people become more active and travel more freely, we will inevitably see an increase in cases.”

According to the DOH, health experts indicate that “while Hawai‘i is fortunate to have this pause, it should be used to reassess response capacity, preparedness plans, and to ensure the state is ready for a second and potentially larger wave of the disease.”

State officials say that “of particular concern now, is Hawai‘i residents resuming travel to the mainland, particularly to COVID-19 hotspots.” Dr. Park said, “Travel continues to pose a risk for the spread and reintroduction of the coronavirus. This risk is not just posed by visitors. Residents can actually pose a greater risk by unknowingly infecting others. When people travel for entirely appropriate and necessary reasons (work, healthcare, significant family events) they can inadvertently bring the infection home.”

Park and other health experts say this is why it is “critically important” for everyone (visitors and residents) to observe the mandatory traveler 14-day self-quarantine. “It protects our community,” health officials said.

State health officials emphasized that Hawai‘i is not a “me first” culture, but a culture of “we.”  “This philosophy is what has allowed control of the COVID-19 pandemic up until this point. Hawai‘i residents particularly respect our kupuna and others who may be more susceptible to this serious disease,” department officials said. 

For that reason, DOH says the strongest defense we have against future, rapid increases in COVID-19 cases is dependent on everyone’s consistent observation of safe practices including: 

  • Wear a mask when you are outside your home. 
  • Wash your hands frequently. 
  • Keep a distance of 6 feet from non-household members. 
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces often. 
  • And stay at home when you are sick. 

*Information above courtesy State Department of Health.

As of noon on Friday, May 8, 2020, there are 629 cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaiʻi with no new cases in the state.

To date, 566 people have recovered including 93 in Maui County.

The total new cases include:

  • 0 new cases on Oʻahu for a total of 408 confirmed positive,
  • 0 new cases in Maui County for a total of 116 confirmed positive,
  • 0 new cases on Hawaiʻi Island for a total of 74 confirmed positive; and
  • 0 new cases on Kauaʻi for a total of 21 confirmed positive.
  • 0 new case of a Hawaiʻi resident who were diagnosed outside of Hawaiʻi for a total of 10 confirmed positive.
  • 0 pending cases, where the island of residency has not been determined, which remains unchanged from yesterday’s count.
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The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health reports that there were 566 individuals released from isolation; and 81 cases (13%) that have required hospitalization. A total of 569 patients (90%) were residents.

Maui County’s count remains unchanged from yesterday. Of the 116 cases in Maui County, at least 93 have been released from isolation, and 22 have required hospitalization.

As of today, there were more than 36,262 individuals tested by clinical and state laboratories.  Of that number, 35,633 were returned negative. In Maui County, a total of 6,670 tests were returned negative to date.  *(Note: The state Department of Health reports that a technical error in the ELR reporting resulted in over-counting of some tests over the past week. The issue has been corrected).

To date, there have been 17 COVID-19 related deaths in Hawaiʻi, including 11 on Oʻahu and 6 in Maui County.

Maui County now has six COVID-19 related deaths.

  • Maui reported its first COVID-19 related death on Monday, April 6, of an adult male over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions and exposure to travelers.
  • The second Maui death was announced on Wednesday, April 8, and was an unattended death.
  • A third death in Maui County reportedly occurred on April 7, but was reported in the state count on Friday, April 10.  The third case involved an elderly individual who was in the chronic care unit.
  • The fourth case was confirmed on April 19, and was an adult male from Washington state in the 40-59-year age group who had no previous medical conditions. State health officials say the man’s exposure history may be travel-related.  The man had been hospitalized for an extended period in serious condition at Maui Memorial Medical Center.
  • The fifth Maui case occurred on Monday April 20 and involved a man who had underlying health conditions. He had been in the hospital at Maui Memorial Medical Center since late last year.  This person’s death is considered related to the MMMC cluster.
  • The sixth Maui case was reported on May 3, 2020. The case involves a woman, over the age of 60, with underlying medical conditions. She had been in the hospital at Maui Memorial Medical Center since late February. Her infection occurred in mid-April. “COVID-19 is not believed to be the primary cause of death, due to her other serious illnesses, but may have been a contributing factor to her passing,” health officials said.

Maui Memorial Cluster Update (5.7.20)

The state Department of Health says that as of April 30, there are 60 COVID-19 positive cases, including 38 staff and 22 patients under investigation as potentially associated with the cluster.

That differs from the Maui Health count, which as of May 5, 2020, was 46–including 39 staff and 7 patients.  Maui Health says that of that number, 24 staff/providers have recovered.

State Health officials say their investigation is ongoing to determine whether COVID-19 infection occurred as a result of the outbreak or whether they may have had the infection related to another exposure. Several hundred healthcare personnel and patients were tested in the course of this investigation. The DOH says they are awaiting a more accurate estimate of total tested from MMMC infection control.

The DOH explains that the investigation is ongoing and “that may account for discrepancies between MMMC numbers and DOH numbers.”

DOH is recommending the facility repeat in-service training for staff on proper PPE use, and other protective measures. DOH officials say “it appears the outbreak may have been driven by a single healthcare worker who was allowed to work while ill.”

Other Highlights for Maui County:

On Wednesday, May 6, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino offered some clarification on the Governor’s latest “Safer-at-Home” order for phased reopening of businesses in Hawaiʻi. County officials say retail and shopping malls in Maui County will not be opening on May 7th like many other locations across the state, and will instead open on Monday, May 11th.

On Tuesday, May 5, Governor David Ige unveiled details of his 7th Supplemental Proclamation, that allows for the next phase includes the reopening to include: non-food agriculture such as landscaping, floral and ornamental; astronomical observatories and support facilities; car washes; and pet grooming services.

On Monday, May 4, a patient on Maui who was diagnosed with COVID-19 over a month ago and had been on a ventilator, was greeted with a celebratory exit from hospital staff who lined the halls upon her departure. The single mom of three came into the Maui Memorial Medical Center 36 days prior and had a slow process to recovery, according to a hospital spokesperson.  Also, Maui Health re-opened the Maui East unit as a medical surgical unit and it is no longer serving as a COVID-19 unit.

On Wednesday, April 29, Mayor Victorino identified a short list parks, golf courses and local businesses that quality for limited opening under the first phase of a reopening that began on May 1, 2020.

On Tuesday, April 28, local government leaders visited and toured the outside of Maui Memorial Medical Center in compliance with the hospital’s COVID-19 no-visitor policy, and received an update from Maui Health on response efforts at the facility.

On Tuesday, April 28, officials confirmed that an elderly Lānaʻi woman contracted COVID-19 while she was hospitalized at the Maui Memorial Medical Center.  The woman initially tested negative for COVID-19, but a recent test came back positive.  She will remain on Maui until she is healthy enough to return home to Lānaʻi and she no longer poses a risk of transmitting the virus to others.  The case is documented as a Maui Island case and there are still no confirmed positive cases on the island of Lānaʻi.

Maui Health on Monday, April 27, confirmed that a Maui Medical Group hospitalist who provides care to patients at Maui Memorial Medical Center has tested positive for COVID-19.  The provider was tested for COVID-19 two weeks prior by Maui Medical Group, was asymptomatic, and the results were negative. The provider then became symptomatic and self-quarantined at home.  On Friday April 24, a repeat test was performed and on Sunday April 26, the results returned positive for COVID-19.

A joint statement was released on Wednesday evening, April 22, from Mayor Michael Victorino and Merriman’s Kapalua restaurant confirming the location of the restaurant grouping from March, which consisted of three COVID-19 positive individuals and between 65 and 100 exposed contacts.  Health officials say the grouping does not currently pose a significant risk to the community and refrained from labeling it a “cluster.”

Two individuals from the Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center on Waiʻale Road in Wailuku on Maui were moved to a Department of Health quarantine facility after one of them tested positive for COVID-19.  The other man who was awaiting test results has since received word that his test came back negative and he was released from quarantine. Monique Yamashita, Executive Director at the facility said 48 individuals including staff and guests were tested on April 24 during a mass testing event.  She provided us with an update on May 1 saying all tests came back negative.  Also the eight staff that had contact with the COVID-19 positive individual were back to work within a week after all tests came back negative. Yamashita said the facility is still being vigilant with the continued use of PPEs, washing hands and taking other precautions to protect staff and guests.

There’s also two home health patients with Hale Makua Health Services and a nursing home resident from Hale Makua Kahului that tested positive for COVID-19. The asymptomatic resident who had tested positive has since completed the required 14-day quarantine and is still showing no symptoms of COVID-19; however, additional tests will be administered to confirm recovery. As for the home health cases, one client has been released from isolation and is recovering and the other client remained in quarantine at last report.

Maui Now learned that a mother who underwent a caesarean section delivery at the Maui Memorial Medical Center in April later tested positive for COVID-19.  The source of infection at this time is unknown however, Maui Health noted that the hospital “has never had an OB patient, provider or employee test positive for COVID-19.” Employees in that department were tested in April, with all results returned as negative.

There was also a confirmed case of a physical therapy worker at the Kula Hospital who tested positive for COVID-19.  A total of 16 individuals who received care were tested and so far, no positive cases have been reported as a result.

The Maui positive count includes at least one resident of the rural community of Hāna in East Maui and at least two residents of Molokaʻi.

*Includes presumptive and confirmed cases, data are preliminary and subject to change; note that CDC provides case counts according to states of residence.

Includes cases that meet isolation release criteria (Isolation should be maintained until at least 3 days (72 hours) after resolution of fever and myalgia without the use of antipyretics OR at least 10 days have passed since symptom onset, whichever is longer.), have died, or have left the jurisdiction.

One case is a Lānaʻi resident whose exposure is on Maui Island and who will be remaining on Maui Island for the interim. 

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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