Hawaii has presumptive second case of COVID-19

The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) announced a second presumptive positive test result for an elderly adult who is hospitalized in serious condition on Oahu. The individual felt ill on March 2 while in Washington State, and on March 4 returned home to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines flight HA21 from Seattle to Honolulu. The individual was hospitalized on March 7. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been notified and trace back investigations are being conducted. The Oahu hospital has taken protective and preventive measures and is working with healthcare workers to ensure health and safety. Information is still being gathered and as more information becomes available, the public will be advised.

The first presumptive positive case was announced on Friday, March 6. That individual was a passenger on the Grand Princess cruise in Mexico from February 11 to February 21. After arriving in Mexico, the individual traveled home to Honolulu with no symptoms. While home in Honolulu, the individual became ill on March 1, sought medical care and was tested on March 6. The individual is currently isolated at home and is being monitored daily by DOH. The department is conducting a detailed trace investigation to identify, notify, and provide guidance to all close contacts as quickly as possible.

To date, there have been 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (19 crew members and 2 passengers) on the Grand Princess cruise ship that made port calls to Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauai, on February 26, Honolulu Harbor on February 27, Lahaina, Maui, on February 28, and Hilo on February 29. The ship is currently held off the coast of California and additional testing of all passengers and crew is pending. DOH is working closely with the CDC to notify any passengers in Hawaii and trace all close contacts.

The public is advised that exposure risk to tour operators and other hospitality services who interact with visitors on cruises is low. Companies should work on finding out which specific employees actually had close contact (close personal face-to-face contact for more than 10 minutes) with Grand Princess cruise passengers. DOH is contacting companies to gather this information. Companies are advised to notify their workers that there have been individuals from the Grand Princess cruise who were diagnosed with COVID-19 and the overall risk to hospitality workers is low.

The Hawaii Department of Health is capable of conducting in-state testing for up to 250 individuals per week for COVID-19. Results can be ready within 24 to 48 hours of a sample being collected. This enhances the state’s prevention and mitigation response capabilities to further safeguard the health of people in Hawaii. It is anticipated that private and clinical labs in California and Hawaii may have testing capability as early as next week. As of March 8, there have been 17 individuals in Hawaii tested for COVID-19. Laboratory testing in Hawaii is being conducted at the DOH State Laboratories Division and Tripler Army Medical Center.

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