Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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Hilo nursing home outbreak includes 93 COVID cases

A Hilo nursing home has been dealing with a recent COVID-19 outbreak, which resulted in 93 cases and one death.

The Hawaii Department of Health said it was notified in early April of the outbreak at Life Care Center of Hilo, and has been providing technical assistance to the facility.

As of today, the facility has reported a total of 93 cases, including 76 residents and 17 staff. One resident who tested positive for COVID died after being transferred to the hospital, according to DOH.

After implementing heightened infection prevention measures in consultation with DOH, the number of new cases has slowed.

DOH said no new cases have been identified in the past week.

The center, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility, also experienced outbreaks earlier in the pandemic, including in October 2020 and in the summer of 2021.

DOH said its infection preventionists can provide guidance and on-site assessments and training to help facilities implement best practices in infection prevention and control. During an outbreak, the infection preventionist works with staff to review and recommend actions that can be taken to prevent further spread of disease.

“High COVID-19 vaccination and booster uptake in nursing homes, along with implementation of other layered mitigation measures, has greatly reduced the number of hospitalizations and deaths associated with outbreaks in these settings,” said DOH in an email. “Unfortunately, once a COVID-19 outbreak has started in a nursing home, it can be very challenging to control, and deaths can still occur.”

Star-Advertiser calls to the Life Care Center of Hilo administrator have not been returned.

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