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Hawaii has no coronavirus cases but state health officials urge caution

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Hawaii Department of Health director Bruce Anderson, left, and Gov. David Ige discuss the state’s reaction to the coronavirus outbreak today at a news conference this afternoon at the Health Department headquarters in Honolulu.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Hawaii Department of Health director Bruce Anderson, left, and Gov. David Ige discuss the state’s reaction to the coronavirus outbreak today at a news conference this afternoon at the Health Department headquarters in Honolulu.

Gov. David Ige and other state officials said today that Hawaii has no cases of 2019 novel coronavirus and the risk of infection here is low, but they urged local residents not to travel to China.

They also recommended getting vaccinated against the regular, seasonal flu to reduce cases of that disease. That’s because its symptoms may be confused with those of the new coronavirus and could cause them unnecessary worry.

“I want to be clear there have been no cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus here in the state of Hawaii,” Ige said at a news conference this afternoon. “We want to make sure that the public understands that.”

Health Director Bruce Anderson and other officials stressed that the state is working to protect residents and visitors.

“The risk for infection here in the United States is by all accounts very, very low, nevertheless there are lots of concerns being raised about this virus,” Anderson said, and officials have ramped up surveillance efforts. U.S. health officials said Tuesday that Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is now one of 20 U.S. ports of entry screening for the illness.

As of today, China has recorded 7,711 cases of the disease and 170 deaths.

State epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said the Department of Health has received reports from concerned individuals and health care providers and follows up on all of them.

“We investigate every single report and to date there are no cases of concern,” Park said.

The Health Department advises people who have traveled to affected areas in China and who feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing to contact their health care provider. Before going to a medical facility, call ahead to advise staff of recent travel to China and symptoms.

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For more information about the coronavirus, go to health.hawaii.gov.

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