27 New COVID-19 Cases in Hawai‘i: Largest Single Day Increase Since Early April

June 19, 2020, 12:19 PM HST · Updated June 20, 2:26 AM
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There are 27 new COVID-19 case reported in Hawaiʻi today–25 on Oʻahu, and one each on Kauaʻi and Maui–pushing the statewide count to 789 cases in Hawaiʻi over the course of the pandemic.

This is the highest number reported since April 2. DOH Director, Dr. Bruce Anderson said, “Despite our recent spike in cases, all of our testing and contact tracing procedures are working exactly as intended. Additional cases are being identified and added to the case count as a result of aggressive investigations and contact tracing.”

The majority of new cases reported over the past week are associated with community clusters in large households with crowded conditions, adult care and long-term nursing facilities, and with a church group. Hawai‘i State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park, commented, “These clusters really emphasize our call for the continuation of safe practices, including physical distancing, using face coverings, frequent hand washing, and staying home and away from others when sick. Virtually all of the newly reported cases of COVID-19 are due to community-spread, often from a group setting.”

Many of the recent cases have been associated with clusters. One faith community in Waipahu, having gatherings in a home, has prompted health authorities to reiterate safe practices for people being together in crowded conditions. Guidance, prepared by the City and County of Honolulu, based on best practices from sources such as DOH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and from research institutions and municipalities across the country is available online: https://www.oneoahu.org/house-of-worship-guidance

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There has been speculation that the recent rise in cases is due to large protests. Dr. Park added, “At this time there is no evidence that recent protests have led to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Hawai‘i. Nonetheless, we continue to strongly encourage physical distancing and the use of face masks when people are engaged in practicing First Amendment rights, or while in any other large gatherings, with people who don’t live in the same household.”

The health department says testing is based on a low threshold to test. In other words, once a resident or caregiver tests positive and the health investigation determines the source of infection, DOH supports broader testing of exposed healthcare givers and residents in conjunction with public health investigation. Part of DOH’s investigation procedure continues to be extensive contact tracing to get close contacts of an infected person into isolation and monitoring. The department and its partners continue to conduct outreach and education for impacted individuals and communities.

Dr. Anderson concluded, “Once again we fully anticipated an increase in COVID-19 cases associated with more community activity and business re-openings. This is the critical time, with this week’s resumption of interisland travel and the re-opening of other air travel at some point in the future, for all of us to act with care, to protect our loved ones, particularly our kupuna, and continue physical distancing, face masks, and all of the safe practices that have now become our new norm…at least for now.”

“Today’s spike in positive cases was anticipated as we began the process to re-open our community. It is still manageable, but it serves as a reminder that we must continue to be vigilant in the battle against COVID-19, especially because of the potential harm that the virus can cause to our most vulnerable populations,” said Gov. David Ige.

“We are well-prepared to handle this level of new cases. We have good capacity for testing, contact tracing and care within our hospitals and other healthcare facilities. In addition, the increase in cases is a clear sign that our contact tracing and testing programs are working and we’re finding more COVID-19 in our communities,” said Gov. Ige.

“It’s critically important that we slow the spread of the disease by continuing the safe practices that have become the new norm. The reopening of our communities and our ability to remain open depend on how successful we are at preventing surges that could overwhelm our healthcare system,” said Gov. Ige.

To date, 642 people (83.1%) have recovered including 113 in Maui County. There are currently 130 active cases in the state.

The breakdown by island includes the following:

  • Oʻahu: 551 confirmed positive (428 released from isolation);
  • Maui County: 121 confirmed positive (113 released from isolation);
  • Hawaiʻi Island: 83 confirmed positive (81 released from isolation); and
  • Kauaʻi: 22 confirmed positive (20 released from isolation).
  • Hawaiʻi residents who were diagnosed outside of Hawaiʻi: 12 confirmed positive.
  • Pending cases, where the island of residency has not been determined: 0

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health reports that there were 642 individuals released from isolation; and 96 cases (12%) that have required hospitalization. A total of 721 patients (91%) were residents.

Maui County’s count increased by one case from yesterday. Of the 121 cases in Maui County, at least 113 have been released from isolation, and 22 have required hospitalization.  Based on the current numbers, there is just two active cases in Maui County.

To date, there have been 17 COVID-19 related deaths in Hawaiʻi, including 11 on Oʻahu and 6 in Maui County. Lieutenant Governor Josh Green notes that Hawaiʻi has the lowest mortality rate in the US at 1.2 deaths per 100,000.

In Maui County, cases with onset in the last 28 days have been in the Lahaina and Wailuku zip codes.  Of the 121 cases documented in Maui County over the course of the pandemic, Wailuku and Kahului had the most cases (21-50 each); followed by Lahaina and Kīhei (11-20 each); Makawao (6-10 cases); and Kula, Hāna, Haʻikū and Molokaʻi (1-5 cases each).

Age breakdown is not available by county; however there is a breakdown of the statewide count.  Of the 676 cases recorded *as of June 15 (to date there are now 789 cases) statewide: 52 were 0-19 years old (one of which required hospitalization); 247 were 20-39 years old (nine of which required hospitalization); 254 were 40-59 years old (25 of which required hospitalization); and 183 were 60+ years old (56 of which required hospitalization).

Maui County 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 involved 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 Medical Center News:

The outbreak at Maui Memorial Medical Center in Kahului was considered closed as of May 19, 2020. The cluster of individuals linked to the Maui hospital outbreak totaled 52 including 38 health care workers and 14 patients who had tested positive, according to Maui Health.  DOH officials say “it appears the outbreak may have been driven by a single healthcare worker who was allowed to work while ill.”

As of June 7, there are no COVID-19 cases at the Maui Memorial Medical Center, and as of Monday, June 8, there was only one person on Maui in home quarantine with the virus. Also, starting June 8, the Maui Memorial Medical Center began universal testing for COVID-19 on all patients admitted through the Emergency Department and Obstetrics patients.  Universal testing expands to include direct admissions on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

Quarantine Updates: 

Governor David Ige extended the mandatory 14-day quarantine for international and out-of-state arrivals into Hawaiʻi through July 31, 2020. “We will not reopen out-of-state travel before the end of June,” said Gov. Ige, and noting that his latest Ninth Supplemental Emergency Proclamation gives him the flexibility to reopen travel “when the state is ready.”

A separate quarantine in place for interisland travel was lifted on Tuesday, June 16.  This applies only to air travel within the state, and anyone arriving into the state would still be subject to a 14-day quarantine through at least the end of July.  As the state lifts the interisland quarantine, they will be implementing thermal screening, a new interisland travel form and a more robust contact tracing program.

The state is also reviewing several different companies as part of a procurement process to implement a facial recognition program at the airport as part of its screening process for COVID-19.

Other Highlights for Maui County:

The Governor granted the County of Maui’s request to reopen more businesses and activities on Monday, June 15, 2020. This includes bars which will be allowed to operate with modifications; and some organized team sports will also resume with modifications including canoe paddling. Football and rugby practices are not allowed to start at this time and No close contact activities will be permitted, including but not limited to: huddles, high fives and handshakes.

The state has resumed the issuance of wiki permits for beach weddings and vow renewals.  These limited commercial activities on state beaches are resuming subject to Act with Care restrictions–including no groups larger than 10 people, social distancing among individuals outside of the same household, and quarantine restrictions must be followed.

The County of Maui announced that Commercial Ocean Recreation Activity permit holders that are allowed to operate at some of the county beach parks will still be prohibited from operating on Sundays and holidays in accordance with current county laws. On June 5, the County of Maui provided clarification saying CORA permit holders will be allowed to resume operations starting Monday, June 15. CORA permit holders will be required to provide a valid Certificate of Insurance to the County Department of Parks and Recreation before their permit is reinstated.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is lessening restrictions on state parks in conjunction with various county-specific rules and guidelines. Here on Maui, all beach areas within Oneloa “Mākena State Park” are now accessible. Visitors should note that there are NO lifeguard services, nor restroom facilities at Mākena and therefore the parking areas will remain closed. In East Maui, Waiʻānapanapa State Park remains closed pending the completion of the East Maui Traffic Management Plan. Pailoa Beach access is allowed for use, subject to COVID-19 restrictions. ʻĪao Valley State Monument remains closed, as well as the Hāna Highway State Waysides. On Molokaʻi, Palaʻau State Park has reopened for day use. And overnight lodging for Maui sites is anticipated to reopen on July 1st.

On June 3, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources began relaxing restrictions on recreational and commercial boating. Commercial watersports operators, like surf schools and kayak rental companies, can also resume operations with the same restrictions – a limit of 10 people including crew or staff.

An employee at the Maui Memorial Medical Center has been quarantined at home since the hospital learned of the individual’s positive antibody detection on Friday, May 21. A subsequent COVID swab test at the hospital’s emergency department came back positive on Saturday, May 23. Hospital representatives say it’s too soon in the process to determine a source of the infection but have stated that the case is not related to the Maui Memorial Medical Center cluster of 52 individuals that was deemed closed on May 19.

Increased access to Haleakalā National Park began on May 27.  The public is now allowed in the Summit District from the park entrance to the summit at the 10,000 foot elevation between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Park entrance fees are temporarily waived.  Sunrise and sunset viewing are not available at this time and the park’s visitor center buildings, Kipahulu District, crater and backcountry areas remain closed.  Commercial and special use permits also remain suspended.

Governor David Ige approved Maui Mayor Michael Victorino’s request to reopen most businesses and services with modifications starting Monday, June 1, 2020.  This includes clubhouses, dog parks, playgrounds and skate parks, all county parks and beach parks, select county pools, dine-in restaurant service, tattoo parlors, aestheticians, massage therapists and other personal services.  Earlier openings included: hair and nail salons on May 25; and drive-in religious services on May 22; and certain retail shops at shopping malls in Maui County opened on May 11.

Governor David Ige signed his 8th supplemental emergency proclamation on May 18, effectively extending the eviction moratorium and extending the 14 day travel quarantine for both mainland and interisland travel through the end of June. The governor also unveiled his four step Roadmap to Recovery and Resilience Plan.  He said the state is ready to move from Phase 1 of stabilization to Phase 2 of reopening and called the latest phase “Act With Care.”

The County of Maui started allowing passive recreation at beaches effective on Saturday, May 16.  This is for a trial period only of two weeks (from May 16 to 30) and will be reassessed.

Also the 98th Maui Fair, which was scheduled to take place over four days in October, is cancelled for this year due to public health concerns.  Organizers say the event was cancelled at the request of the County and will be held sometime next year.

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.  This also includes some retail operations.

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.

Update: (5.18.20) All Prior Cases of COVID-19 at Hale Makua are Now Negative: Two home health patients with Hale Makua Health Services and a nursing home resident from Hale Makua Kahului are now negative for COVID-19. The asymptomatic resident who had tested positive has since received two consecutive test results showing they are negative for COVID-19. As for the home health cases, one client has been released from isolation and had recovered in April; and the other client has recently received two negative COVID-19 tests so has been released from quarantine as well.

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 included at least one resident of the rural community of Hāna in East Maui and at least two residents of Molokaʻi.

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