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Elderly man who recently traveled to Washington state becomes Hawaii’s second coronavirus case

  • Cindy Ellen Russell / crussell@staradvertiser.com

    The state held a press conference today to discuss a second coronavirus case.

UPDATE: 11 p.m.

The Department of Health said this evening the man flew back to Honolulu from Washington on Hawaiian Airlines flight 21 on March 4.

6:53 p.m.

Kaiser Permanente confirmed that its Moanalua medical facility “has one coronavirus patient in isolation and as previously reported, is also overseeing the care of a patient who is home in self-isolation.”

After a state news conference announcing Hawaii’s second confirmed COVID-19 case, Laura Lott, Kaiser director of communications and public relations, said in an email: “Kaiser Permanente is working closely with federal, state, and local health officials on the COVID-19 situation. Health care facilities across the country and in Hawaii can expect to see more cases as this outbreak evolves.

“Kaiser Permanente has confronted highly infectious diseases for years. Staff are following CDC protocols and we’re confident we can safely treat patients who’ve been infected with this virus, with limited risk to other patients, members, and employees.

“To support the Department of Health’s confidential investigation process and out of respect for the privacy of patients, we are not providing detailed information about patients who are suspected or confirmed for COVID-19.”

Separately, Lott said that following procedures laid out by federal and state officials, hospital officials spoke with an unidentified number of Kaiser staff members and made a determination to require two of its staffers “to stay home 14 days as a precaution” after coming into contact with the second patient.

Gov. David Ige and state health officials said the elderly man positive today and is now hospitalized in serious condition.

State Health Director Bruce Anderson and state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said the infection was confirmed this morning.

The man began showing symptoms while in Washington state earlier this month, they said. More than 60 people in Washington have tested positive for the virus.

The man, who was not identified, returned to Hawaii March 4 and visited an urgent care facility. The man returned home after his clinic visit and remained there until March 7, when an ambulance was called because he had become seriously ill.

He was tested for the virus after informing medical personnel he had been to Washington, Park said, and is now in isolation at the hospital.

Anderson said the man is in “serious condition” but did not offer additional details. However, Park said the man is no longer able to communicate.

There have not been any reports of the virus originating from within the state, Ige said. “We have no evidence of community spread of the virus,” he said.

However, unlike the first case, the second patient was showing symptoms when he boarded his flight back to Honolulu, when it was more likely that could infect others, Anderson said.

Anderson and Park said the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is heading the investigation into the new Hawaii case, including attempts to identify and assess people the man came into contact with during his return flight from Washington and after his arrival in Hawaii.

Officials are trying to identify who sat next to the patient, as well as the two rows in front and behind him, state epidemiologist Sarah Park said.

5:30 p.m.

A hospitalized elderly Hawaii man who recently returned from Washington state has tested positive for the new coronavirus, state officials announced today.

The man, who is in serious condition, is the second confirmed case in Hawaii.

After returning from Washington, the man went to an urgent care facility on Wednesday. He was taken by ambulance to an undisclosed hospital on Saturday and tested for coronavirus, which came back positive today.

State officials said an investigation is ongoing to determine who the man has been in contact with since returning to Hawaii.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

A second Hawaii resident has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19, the state Department of Health said this afternoon.

“The Department of Health has notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is working with them,” the department said in a release. “DOH will follow up with close contacts in Hawaii. Information is still being gathered and the investigation is ongoing.

A press conference is scheduled for 5 p.m. today.

On Friday, state officials confirmed Hawaii’s first case of the new coronavirus in a resident who traveled on a cruise ship in February and tested positive after returning to Oahu. The individual, who was treated at Kaiser Permanente, had been on a Grand Princess voyage from San Francisco to Mexico from Feb. 11 to 21 and flew back to Hawaii from Mexico.

Gov. David Ige said Friday that officials didn’t believe there has been any community spread.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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