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Liliha Healthcare Center scrambles to contain COVID-19 outbreak

A Liliha nursing home is scrambling to contain a COVID-19 outbreak that has so far sickened 21 residents and six staff members.

The coronavirus quietly infiltrated the Liliha Healthcare Center after an employee tested positive on Sept. 16. The center tested all residents and staff two days later and some of the results were returned positive on Sept. 20. The state Department of Health said it is investigating cases at the Liliha Healthcare Center and wouldn’t comment at this time.

“Upon identifying the first infection, our administration contacted DOH and is currently working with state officials to ensure the outbreak has been contained,” the center said in a statement provided to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” a total of 17 non-COVID-19 residents were temporarily transferred over the weekend to Wahiawa General Hospital, “where they continue to be tested and monitored for possible symptoms.”

Meanwhile, the infected residents are being isolated at the nursing home, which is testing staff and residents every Friday, while also checking for COVID-19 symptoms twice daily.

The 92-bed nursing home that opened in June 1991 offers 24-hour intermediate and skilled nursing care for short and long-term patients, behavioral health and rehabilitation services, as well as hospice care at 1814 Liliha St. The facility is locally-owned and operated by The New Family Health Inc., which also runs Nuuanu Hale, a 75-bed long-term care facility established in 1975.

Liliha Healthcare Center said it is taking “precautionary measures to help contain the spread of the coronavirus,” with routine sanitization, temperature and oxygen level monitoring among residents and employee screenings. “Our top priority remains the health and safety of our residents and staff as we all work together in the fight against COVID-19.”

At least 21 nursing homes have reported cases among staff or residents in the past 28 days, the DOH said on its website. They include 15 in Honolulu, two on Maui and four on Hawaii island, including the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo, which has seen the state’s largest coronavirus outbreak with 71 residents and 35 employees infected to date and at least 26 fatalities.

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