12 Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Cases Linked to Moloka’i Construction Cluster
May 14, 2021, 6:27 PM HST
There are now 12 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases linked to a cluster that started with a Maui-based contractor who had been working in a closed non-clinical area of Molokaʻi General Hospital.
The contractor tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week and many of the crew members have since tested positive, and in turn infected family and community members, according to an updated provided by state Representative Lynn DeCoite.
According to Rep. DeCoite, the third-party contractor had no contact with any of the hospital’s patients. The contractor and crew had been working in an area of MGH that had been closed for construction last week. The crew included members from Maui as well as local Molokaʻi residents.
“I know we are all concerned about these recent cases on Molokaʻi. I am working to ensure that everyone who needs or wants to get tested can get tested so we can stop this outbreak in its tracks,” said Rep. DeCoite. “I encourage everyone to try to stay clam and get your information from reputable sources and not the coconut wireless.”
Rep. DeCoite reports that none of the individuals who tested positive had been vaccinated. An estimated 15 people were tested today (Friday, May 14, 2021), and results are pending.
While construction was not identified in this week’s cluster report provided by the state Department of Health, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino on Wednesday confirmed the construction company cluster, saying that it contributed to Thursday’s double-digit count of new cases in Maui County.
“Unfortunately it was just one individual who then spread it to other family members and other workers from that particular construction company. We are working very diligently with the Department of Health to do what we can and to do the contact tracing that’s necessary,” the mayor said during the press briefing. “(It’s) nothing serious at this time; however, ladies and gentlemen, we are not out of the woods. So let’s continue wearing our masks, continue good hygiene and keep physical distancing.”
According to Rep. DeCoite, the air handling system was disconnected and there was no air exchange between the work area and any parts of the hospital. “So, the infected individuals working on the crew did not send any air particles through the AC or ventilation systems at MGH,” she reported in an afternoon press release.
The representative reports that hospital staff has not been infected, and daily health checks are conducted. Most, if not all of MGH staff are reportedly vaccinated.
“MGH has proper COVID protocols and has strictly followed them for the past 14 months. It is safe to go to MGH for any medical care needed, to get the COVID-19 vaccine or to get tested,” according to Rep. DeCoite’s update.
There will be a FREE mass COVID-19 testing at Molokai General Hospital on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. No appointment is needed. For more information residents can call the Queen’s COVID Infoline at 808-691-2619.
“This is a reminder for all of us that we still need to be vigilant. We need to keep wearing masks and social distancing,” said Rep. DeCoite. “I do encourage those that have not been vaccinated to do so. The vaccine doesn’t just protect you; it does help protect those around you.”
Rep. DeCoite serves House District 13, which includes the areas of Haʻikū, Hāna, Kaupō, Kīpahulu, Nāhiku, Pāʻia, Kahoʻolawe, Molokini, Lānaʻi and Moloka’i. She said she is working with the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, Molokaʻi General Hospital, Major General Hara (Hi-EMA), Maui County Mayor Victorino, the Department of Education and others to address the recent COVID-19 cases on the island.
“Please remember to show Aloha to each other. We are all community, Moloka’i, Maui Nui and Statewide. Situations like this do test us, but we are resilient, and we will get through this together because we are all still in this – TOGETHER,” said Rep. DeCoite.