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Japanese woman has coronavirus after husband gets sick following Hawaii trip

A woman who was traveling with her husband to Hawaii in recent weeks has now contracted the coronavirus, according to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Hawaii health officials Friday confirmed her husband had the disease, but her condition was unknown until today.

The couple, in their 60s, were on Maui from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 and on Oahu from Feb. 3 to 7 and stayed at the Grand Waikikian by Hilton Grand Vacations Club timeshare property. It is unclear where they stayed while on Maui.

The man developed a 102-degree fever Feb. 8 and was subsequently hospitalized, diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the virus, called COVID-19, according to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. His wife had a low-grade fever on Feb. 14 and headaches, the ministry said.

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State health officials said at an emergency news conference Friday that they are working on identifying any potential exposure and tracking close contacts.

The Department of Health is monitoring at least one Hawaii resident who may have been exposed to the deadly virus.

John Fujiwara, who lives in the Ala Moana area, said he was contacted twice Friday by the DOH after a brief home visit Feb. 4 from his friend Teruhito (Ted) Fujii, 65, who fit the profile of the man confirmed with the virus in Japan.

Health officials would not confirm or deny that Fujii had contracted the disease. Fujii and his wife live in Nagoya in Aichi prefecture and had the same travel itinerary.

Hilton Grand Vacations informed owners, guests and employees in a letter Friday about the former guest diagnosed with the virus.

“HGV takes all forms of infectious disease seriously and is responding based on the best advice of medical professionals and public health authorities,” wrote Pam Yagi, general manager of the Grand Waikikian.

A Hilton spokeswoman told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the company has “activated” standard operating procedures and is actively investigating the case with medical professionals and local authorities.

“Although we remain open as usual, we are also working with all current and future guests at the Grand Waikikian to ensure they have the flexibility to change any of their travel plans,” said spokeswoman Megumi Haubner.

As the situation worsens in Japan with at least two deaths resulting from the virus, Gov. David Ige is traveling to the country today for a series of meetings to “promote and expand travel to Hawaii and make access easier through pre-clearance flights from Japan.”

Health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending the following:

>> Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;

>> Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;

>> Keep away from sick people;

>> Stay home when ill;

>> Cover coughs and sneezes with tissue;

>> Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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