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Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Maui Hospital Coverup? COVID-19 Cluster Developing Since Mid-March
By News Release @ 8:30 PM :: 4112 Views :: Maui County, Health Care, COVID-19

Maui Hospital COVID-19 Cluster Since Mid-March

(UPDATE April 12, 2020: 2nd 'Cluster' at unnamed Maui Church--Scroll Down)

HNN April 8, 2020: … Mass testing is underway as health officials investigate a cluster of coronavirus cases at Maui's largest hospital.

The state confirms at least 15 employees at Maui Memorial Medical Center tested positive for COVID-19. Many of those cases involve workers in the hospital’s cancer ward, sources told Hawaii News Now.

Health officials say the outbreak started in mid-March.

But HNN learned top members within the emergency command weren’t privy to the information until Wednesday morning. The state health director denies there was any cover-up.

However, Lt. Gov. Josh Green told HNN he had no clue about the cluster of coronavirus cases growing within the hospital — saying DOH had identified nine COVID-19 positive patients days ago.

In a FaceTime interview Green expressed anger at the lack of communication.

“I’m angry that I wasn’t informed about that last night or the day before and I’m sure that’s the sentiment of a lot of people in the central command," he said….

Now, testing is the task at hand. Green said everyone who was in close contact with those 15 patients can be swabbed whether they have symptoms or not….

UPDATE April 12, 2020:  4 new cases on Maui, hospital cluster up to 31

read … Lack of proper protocols at Maui hospital may have contributed to COVID-19 cluster

  *   *   *   *   *

MN: State Department of Health officials were also questioned Wednesday at a news conference about when they discovered the cluster and why the information was not released sooner. Anderson responded that “there is no cover-up” and said that analyzing the cases is like “detective work,” as there are many different elements that come into play.

He said the first case at the hospital was in mid-March and that “many of the initial cases” were travel associated.

Employees got infected, but no one was yet linking the cases to the hospital.

The state DOH got a report Tuesday and an epidemiologist determined there was a cluster and that it was hospital-based.

“All close contacts are being tested. They are also being quarantined,” Anderson said....

On March 30, the hospital announced that it was changing its policy to allow employees and providers to wear their own masks when treating non-COVID-19 individuals and in nonclinical settings. The hospital had faced criticism from workers about not letting them wear their own gear. On Wednesday after the news of the cluster broke, some workers felt the positive cases at the hospital could have been limited if the change to allow employees to wear masks were made earlier....

MN: Staff wonder if wearing masks and changing policy sooner could’ve reduced exposure

MN: Hospital claims no cover-up of cluster

HPR: Health Director Says Maui Memorial Failed To Follow Infection Control Rules  

HNN: Maui hospital tests dozens after coronavirus cluster

  *   *   *   *   *

Mayor Victorino provides statement on COVID-19 cases at Maui Memorial Medical Center

News Release from Office of the Mayor, April 8, 2020

Mayor Michael Victorino provided the following statement on COVID-19 cases at Maui Memorial Medical Center.

“I was informed this morning that a cluster of COVID-19 cases has been identified and involve hospital staff at Maui Memorial Medical Center. These employees were immediately sent home to self-isolate and plans are moving forward to transport these workers to a quarantine site away from their families.”

“We also are working very closely with Maui Health System, the State Department of Health and others to accelerate testing for additional hospital workers this afternoon. Gov. David Ige has assured me that he will do everything he can to expedite test results.”

“I want to mahalo everyone who is on the front lines of this pandemic. These are difficult times for all of us and we are taking immediate action to assist our healthcare workers. The County will be redirecting any available personal protective equipment to the hospital for their staff.”

“We will continue to do everything in our power to protect the health and safety of everyone in Maui County.”

---30---

KHON: Maui Memorial changes policy on masks after 15 healthcare workers test positive for COVID-19

SA: At least 15 employees are COVID-19 positive at the island’s largest hospital, and potentially 300 to 500 more people may have been in direct contact with the workers

April 1, 2020: Maui Health treating first COVID-19 patient  

  *   *   *   *   * 

Maui 2nd Cluster at a Church -- Mayor orders Easter Service Shutdown

Maui News, April 12, 2020: …When asked about other clusters in Maui County outside of the hospital, Anderson said that clusters can range in definition, including several cases from the same family.

“There’s one church group I believe where there’s an investigation ongoing where everyone came together and there is some evidence that there’s common sources of infection there,” Anderson said.

When asked to clarify whether that was specifically a church on Maui, Anderson said he didn’t know the details but that “I do recall seeing there was an investigation of a cluster of churchgoers ongoing.”…

Because of the cluster at Maui Memorial and the close relationship of admitting patients directly from the hospital, Hale Makua CEO Wesley Lo said Friday that they are stopping admissions temporarily to their care facilities, which have mainly elderly clients, a high-risk group.

“To ensure safety of our existing residents, because of our fragile population, we want to make sure that we are testing for COVID before taking new admissions for the protection of our fragile population,” Lo said in an email.

Lo added that “unfortunately, testing takes a few days, so we are waiting for results of potential new admissions as well as to ensure safety of ‘new admissions’ we are testing residents in the neighborhood where new admission are ‘co-horted’ per CDC guidelines.”…

When asked about how the cluster could have formed, Anderson said that some of the earliest patients who tested positive at the hospital had come from places where COVID-19 was widespread.

“It is very possible that some of those cases were associated with contact with travelers,” Anderson said.

However, he added that there was at least one employee at Maui Memorial who came to work while sick “for an extended period of time” and later tested positive.

“That could’ve also been a major factor in the outbreak,” Anderson said. “We’re still looking at the factors. It isn’t certainly one situation or one sole source of infection. I think there were a number of factors contributing, and that’s what you would expect in a situation like this.”…

SA April 13, 2020: 2nd Maui cluster of coronavirus cases possible, says Mayor Mike Victorino "...He said he cannot divulge the location of the other one, but that there is a strong suspicion of another cluster...."

SA: More cases confirmed at Maui Memorial hot spot

MN: Recent COVID-19 Cases Include Church Cluster on Maui

KITV: Maui mayor suspends car sermons ahead of the Easter holiday

read … Third Maui COVID-19 patient dies

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