March 24, 2020 - First COVID-19 Death Report Undergoing Confirmation
The Dept. of Health continues to investigate the death of an elderly adult on O‘ahu. Irregularities in testing conducted by the State Laboratories Division prompted DOH leadership to order retesting. The State lab initially received an indeterminate test from a private testing lab and late yesterday the state lab reported the test as positive for COVID-19. Retesting is underway now and confirmatory results will be released, possibly this evening.
Statewide Stay-at-Home, Work-at-Home Order
To protect public health and safety during this pandemic Governor David Ige signed a supplementary proclamation Monday, ordering the entire state to stay at home and work from home starting at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, March 25 through April 30. Essential workers, such as health care professionals and public health workers are exempt.
The state and county orders are implemented to reduce the risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus and to protect the ability of public and private healthcare providers to handle the influx of new patients and to safeguard public health and safety. Many additional closures and restrictions are in place statewide and the Dept. of Health encourages all citizens to stay up-to-date and to practice social distancing protocols at all times.
Reminder of Governor’s Order for Self-Quarantine ofAllTravelers to Hawai‘i
Effective, Thursday, March 26, 2020, Governor David Ige has ordered that all persons entering the State of Hawai‘i to self-quarantine for 14 days or for the duration of their stay in Hawai‘i, whichever is shorter. Upon arrival, residents are required to quarantine in a designated location in their residence. Visitors will quarantine in their hotel room, rented lodging or in a room if staying at a residence. Quarantined individuals may only leave their designated location for medical emergencies or to seek medical care. Failure to comply with all rules and protocols related to quarantines is punishable by fines of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.
FDA Guidance on Food Safety
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has provided guidance on food safety for the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently there is no evidence that the virus has spread from food or food packaging. The FDA is also aggressively monitoring the market for fraudulent COVID-19 testing kits. Complete information on food safety and approved testing can be found at:http://www.afdo.org
The DOH reminds people to be judicious when shopping for food and essential goods so that kūpuna and others in need are able to purchase necessary items.
Who should be tested?
Individuals who are not experiencing systems do not need to be tested. DOH strongly urges public health and healthcare professionals to prioritize testing among three specific groups:
- Health care workers and first responders with COVID-19 symptoms.
- Older Americans who have symptoms of COVID-19, especially those living in congregate settings.
- Individuals who may have other illnesses that would be treated differently if they were infected with COVID-19 and therefore physician judgment is especially important for this population
Other people with mild illness should help protect our most vulnerable and conserve our precious supplies by practicing social distancing measures, monitoring their illness, and calling their healthcare provider if their symptoms worsen or persist.
Guidance and guidelines for public health professionals and healthcare workers:www.cdc.gov/covid19
COVID-19 recommendations are changing the rules on how much physical distance individuals should keep from each other. Cancelling events that do not allow attendees to be at least six feet apart—the equivalent of two arms-length—and avoiding unnecessary physical meeting with others are proven strategies to mitigate the spread of the virus. The effectiveness of these initiatives largely depends on the cooperation and compliance from the public. The recommendations are intended to protect the most vulnerable populations: kupuna and those who are medically fragile.
14 New Positive Cases on O’ahu and Maui
As of March 24, 2020, there is a total of 90 presumptive or positive COVID-19 cases in Hawai‘I, including one death, reported last night. 70 of these cases involve Hawai‘i residents and the majority (57) are on O‘ahu. Travel or contact with a traveler is the risk factor in 57 cases, and only one case has no travel history. The cause of the virus in 32 cases is unknown. Please note, that as the number of cases rises daily it may take health professionals longer to investigate possible sources of infection for individual cases.
Please note the following:There was one duplicate in a previous case list, so total case count dropped by one. One case was misattributed to Hawai‘i Island when it should have been attributed to Kaua‘i.
Definition of Community Spread
Community spread is defined as cases that cannot be traced back to a traveler and have absolutely no travel related or involved connection with travel. We have been informed that there are residents of Hawai‘i who believe all COVID-19 positive cases originate from visitors to the state. Unfortunately, there is stigma developing against visitors in Hawai‘i. We’re asking the media to help people understand that of the 90 positive test results to date, 57 of them are the result of travelingresidents.The majority of cases are residentswho returned home after traveling. At this time, there may be residents returning home from a school that has closed or from other essential travel. It is important for all travelers to monitor their health for 14 days after traveling and to avoid exposing others and stay at home.
Thank you for your assistance in reducing and preventing stigma and increasing understanding during this rapidly changing situation.
More than 3,862 tests performed for people in Hawai‘i byprivateclinical labs to date.
The DOH State Laboratories Division has tested 322 Persons Under Investigation (PUI) and 263 sentinel surveillance samples. The 263 sentinel surveillance tests have all beennegative. These are representative samples taken from every county from people with flu-like symptoms who tested negative for influenza.
Private laboratories are receiving steadily increasing numbers of test samples and this has created some delays in the processing of test results. Test results from private laboratories are currently taking approximately a week or more to complete and health care providers and their patients should expect results may take longer as demand continues to increase.
2-1-1 Call Center for Information on COVID-19
The Aloha United Way call center is open daily between 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. For information or questions about COVID-19:
- Call 2-1-1 from any location in the state
- Text 877-275-6569
*original report: March 23, 2020
March 23, 2020 9:59 pm
(Honolulu) – An O‘ahu adult is Hawai‘i’s first death from COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.
The Department of Health reports the person passed away on March 20th and suffered from multiple underlying health conditions. The available history for this person suggests they had a potential indirect travel-related exposure.
The person had been tested at a clinical commercial laboratory, and the results were indeterminate. Follow-up testing today, by the State Laboratories Division, confirmed COVID-19.
All of Hawai‘i expresses condolences to the family of the person who died and shares in grieving their loss. Everyone is encouraged to take care of themselves and their loved ones during these difficult times.