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Monday, March 23, 2020
Hawaii: First COVID Death Report in Error
By News Release @ 11:59 PM :: 1272 Views :: COVID-19

UPDATE: COVID-19 RETEST ASSOCIATED WITH DEATH COMES BACK NEGATIVE

News Release from Hawaii DoH, March 24, 2020

(Honolulu) – Internal communication of a COVID-19 test at the Dept. of Health resulted in a report being misread and initiated a retest of samples today from an O‘ahu adult, who died on March 20th. This evening the second test came back negative for COVID-19.

DOH Director Dr. Bruce Anderson says our focus was to get information out in a timely manner. This is an unprecedented situation and we’re still developing best practices. Anderson said, “I accept all responsibility for not verifying reporting procedures. We’re immediately instituting measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.  My condolences to the family and friends of the person who passed away and our apologies for any undue anxiety this caused.”

Swabs from the person were submitted to the state laboratories two days after the person died. They’d originally been tested by a private clinical laboratory with inconclusive results.

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STATE ANNOUNCES FIRST DEATH FROM COVID-19

News Release from Hawaii DoH, March 23, 2020

(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.

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COVID-19 Daily Update

VIDEO:  Dr. Bruce Anderson, Director, Hawaii Dept. of Health, Dr. Sarah Park, Hawaii State Epidemiologist

Honolulu and Maui Stay-at-Home Orders

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Maui Mayor Michael Victorino have issued stay-at-home, work-at-home orders for their islands. In the City and County of Honolulu the order takes effect today (March 23, 2020) at 4:30 p.m. and requires all residents to stay and work from home through Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. Certain essential activities associated with identified essential businesses and services are not covered by the Mayor’s order.

On Maui the Mayor’s order takes effect on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and continues until April 30, 2020.

Both 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.

Governor’s Order for Self-Quarantine of All Travelers 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

Social Distancing

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.

21 New Positive Cases on three islands

As of March 23, 2020, there is a total of 77 presumptive or positive COVID-19 cases in Hawai‘i. 61 of these cases involve Hawai‘i residents and the majority (49) are on O‘ahu. Travel or contact with a traveler is the risk factor in 47 cases, and only one case has no travel history. The cause of the virus in 29 cases is unknown. Please note, that as the number of cases rises daily it may take health professionals longer to investigate possible sources for individual cases.

Hawaii COVID-19 Counts  As of 3/22/2020 at 12:00 Noon

  Reported 3/22/2020 Reported since 2/28/2020
Total Cases 21 77
     
Residence    
HI Residents 13 61
Non-HI Residents 3 11
Unknown 5 5
     
County of Diagnosis    
Honolulu 12 53
Hawaii 2 5
Maui 2 11
Kauai 0 3
Unknown 5 5
     
Age Group    
Adult (>18 yrs) 21 75
Pediatric (0–18 yrs) 0 2
     
Hospitalizations    
Hospitalized 1
Not hospitalized 0 23 
Unknown 20 50
     
Risk Factors    
Travel 1 47
Community 0 1
Unknown 20 29

 

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 77 positive test results to date, 47 of them are the result of traveling residents. The majority of cases are residents who 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.

Lab Testing

More than 3,300 tests performed for people in Hawai‘i by private clinical labs to date.

The DOH State Laboratories Division has tested 103 Persons Under Investigation (PUI) and 263 sentinel surveillance samples. The 263 sentinel surveillance tests have all been negative. 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.

Department of Health Transitions to Online/Mail Requests for Vital Records Certificates and Appointment Only for Marriage Licenses

As a precaution against COVID-19, beginning Monday, 3/23/20, DOH will transition to an online/mail procedure for vital records (birth, marriage, death, divorce certificates) requests. 

To complete the online request process: https://vitrec.ehawaii.gov

To obtain forms and instructions for mail-in requests: https://health.hawaii.gov/vitalrecords/birth-marriage-certificates/ or call (808) 586-4733.

Applications for marriage licenses will be by appointment only. Apply online: https://marriage.ehawaii.gov prior to scheduling an appointment via phone (808) 586-4543 or doh.marriage@doh.hawaii.gov.

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
Email
info211@auw.org
Visit health.hawaii.gov/covid19 or coronavirus.gov

# # #

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COVID 19 UPDATE, March 23, 2020 Noon

In a March 23 update posted at noon, the State of Hawaiʻi reported there are now 77 presumptive and confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the islands, up 22 from yesterday.

There are 53 confirmed cases on Oʻahu (up 13), 11 on Maui (up 2), 3 on Kauai (no change), and 5 cases on the Big Island (up 2).  5 ‘pending’ cases are not county-assigned.

Over 80% of the confirmed cases were residents returning from other areas, state officials say.

Four of those cases (5%) have required hospitalization (up 1). There have been no deaths reported in connection with the virus.

There have been 33,404 total cases detected in the U.S., according to a March 23 update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lab Testing

More than 3,300 tests performed for people in Hawai‘i by private clinical labs to date.

The DOH State Laboratories Division has tested 103 Persons Under Investigation (PUI) and 263 sentinel surveillance samples. The 263 sentinel surveillance tests have all been negative. 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.

EMT

Star-Adv Reports: Honolulu’s emergency medical services is already being strained with dozens of COVID-19-related calls daily that most of the time are not life threatening, said spokeswoman Shayne Enright. There were roughly 300 suspected coronavirus calls to EMS since Thursday, averaging about 70 a day, she said.

“We wanted to alert people that the system could get overwhelmed. We need people to utilize other services instead of EMS. Every time we go on one of these calls we have to put on PPEs,” personal protective equipment that is in short supply, Enright said. “A lot of these are turning out to be non-life-threatening medical emergencies, where we could have avoided using these PPEs.”

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