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Summer Fun employee in Waipahu tests positive for COVID-19, Caldwell says

The City and County Summer Fun program will continue on Monday as expected despite the finding that an employee at the Ho‘ae‘ae Community Park site in Waipahu has tested positive for COVID-19.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said so far the rise of COVID-19 infections on Oahu has been expected and is well within the parameters that Hawaii’s healthcare system can handle. However, he said the case involving the city’s Summer Fun worker is a reminder of the importance of keeping vigilant.

Caldwell said the Summer Fun worker took the test on Friday and was found to be positive on Saturday. The program began July 1 and recessed on July 3 in observance of the Fourth of July holiday.

The worker was asymptomatic, but took the test after her husband tested positive for COVID-19, he said. The woman is now recovering at home, where she is self isolating.

Contract tracers are following up with those that the woman may have come into contact with on the job; however, Caldwell said there is believed to be little risk to the 48 children in the program or her fellow employees.

“The good news is that this Park and Rec person was very, very diligent about how she took care of herself,” Caldwell said at a news conference in Waikiki. “She wore face coverings at work and on a number of days she wore a face shield along with a face covering. She also wore latex gloves to protect herself and kept a log of everyone that she came into contact with.”

Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist, said in a statement that the city worker “followed safe practices and acted quickly and responsibly to ensure the safety of the keiki.”

“We need everyone to follow this example and wear a mask at work and whenever outside their home,” she said.

Caldwell said that all park staff, keiki, and family members who want a COVID-19 test will be offered a free one at a city Community Health Center, if their health insurance does not cover the cost of the test.

“We are hoping that no other people test positive,” he said.

Caldwell said even before this case the city Department of Parks and Recreation had been mitigating the potential spread of COVID-19 at Summer Fun through daily temperature checks, access and frequent use of hand sanitizers, physical distancing when possible, wearing of facial coverings, and removal of staff or participants displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

“There are so many people carrying this virus that have no symptoms. That’s why it’s so important that we practice all these protocols that we put in place,” Caldwell said. ” We are grateful to the park’s staff worker for all that she did to protect herself and others. But her husband got the virus, and it spread to her and that’s how we came to know about it.”

Caldwell discussed the case during a news conference about the extension of the Kalakaua Avenue Open Street Sundays to the end of July.

The popular program, which began June 14, has closed Kalakaua Avenue from 6 a.m to noon between Seaside and Kapahulu Avenue to gives bicyclists, joggers, and walkers an opportunity to enjoy outdoor exercise without the challenges of Waikiki traffic.

The city is still requiring social distancing between each family and has ordered that face coverings must be worn to the extent possible. Participants are supposed to keep on the move and avoid congregating to keep the risk of spreading COVID-19 down.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

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