Maui District Health Office Discusses COVID-19 Cluster at Lahaina Bar, Urges Continued Vigilance
Health officials on Maui have identified a cluster involving the convergence of people at a restaurant and bar in West Maui on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020.
A total of six individuals have tested positive from the cluster, and a seventh is pending the results of a repeat test.
It is unclear where the source of the infection came from, but health officials are asking anyone who was at The Dirty Monkey on Aug. 22, to self quarantine for 14 days through Sept. 5, 2020. They are also asked to monitor for symptoms during this period, make the best effort to have social distance from household contacts, contact your primary care physician if you would like to be tested or have symptoms.
Maui District Health Officer Dr. Lorrin Pang spoke at an afternoon press conference on Monday saying, “If you got sick at any one time, count ten days afterwards–whether or not your symptoms cleared, whether or not you got better–and please stay away from others. If you don’t know, go get tested,” he said. For those that choose not to get tested, he advised to treat themselves as if they were positive.
Management from the restaurant posted an open letter to customers and the general public via social media on Monday morning saying the they were contacted by the Department of Health over the weekend regarding a possible COVID-19 exposure.
“Despite our best efforts, the Health Department is not releasing any details to us regarding the cases/exposure except for the date of August 22 being the date of exposure. We have spoken with and tested employees that worked the night in question, and each of their tests have come back negative for COVID-19 and are quarantining as an extra measure,” management wrote. “First and foremost, we care about our community and our patrons.”
The post went on to say that the restaurant has taken “every precautionary measure required by the CDC, the local government as well as the Health Department, and has maintained those standards throughout each day of operation. So much so that we even passed our COVID-19 inspection administered by the Health Department a few days prior to this notification.”
According to the post, precautions include taking temperatures at the door before entrance, partitions separating patrons, six feet of distancing for patrons and tables/chairs, employees wearing masks at all times, security enforcing masks, hand sanitizer stations set up throughout the restaurant and implementing extra cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
For general questions on how to stay in quarantine, the public can contact Maui District Health Office at (808) 984-8260.
Mayor Victorino also acknowledged that COVID-19 testing is being conducted at the County Prosecutors Office and other departments. “Remember now, people are married to others or live with other people who may have been proven positive, and that will continue to be our premise to test,” said Mayor Victorino, noting testing is taking place in departments where individuals “have had some contact with someone who has worked somewhere that had someone” that tested positive for COVID-19.
When asked whether or not the healthcare clusters on Maui are in check, Mayor Victorino said, “The surges look like they’ve gotten under better control… but we’ve seen good results lately.”
Dr. Pang said rapid testing was conducted and numbers came down. “What we’re dealing with now is that there’s a shortage in healthcare workers because they’re afraid to go back to work, because if they’re positive, we quarantine their family for 14 days,” said Dr. Pang. “If we had continued to see it rise, that would have been really worrisome. But it’s in other areas now–bars, breaking of quarantine, maybe basketball games if you look hard enough.”
While numbers have come down, with just one case on Maui today, Dr. Pang advised the public to stay vigilant. “Don’t let your guard down. There’s plenty of guys (that are) asymptomatic all over the place.”
*Maui Now requested comment from the restaurant owner and we are still awaiting response at the time of this posting. The story will be updated if further information is made available.