Two new deaths Friday brings the statewide total to eight. Health officials say one of the deaths was on Oahu, and the second on Maui. There were also 23 new cases, bringing the statewide total to 465.
Maui Memorial Medical Center also announced three more employees and one patient who tested positive for the virus, bringing their total to 19.
The director of the state health department said the eighth person who died was a patient at Maui Memorial, and officials are still investigating whether the case is tied to the cluster of cases that have been going on in recent weeks.
“The department is aggressively investigating every possible case and contact at the hospital to protect this vulnerable population. We are continuing aggressive contact tracing of cases throughout the weekend and immediately notifying all close contacts who may have been exposed,” said Dr. Bruce Anderson.
He says the health department has been testing everyone who has had close contact with those who have tested positive from the Maui Memorial cases, whether or not they are showing symptoms, only because the outbreak happened in a hospital. But generally, he does not want to do massive testing on those who are not showing symptoms.
“Only certain people with COVID-19 symptoms such as fever and cough need to be tested. People who have Covid-like symptoms and have chronic medical conditions or who are older are at most risk, and should be tested because they’re at risk for severe diseases,” said Anderson.
Maui Memorial announced Friday that four more cases were confirmed for a total of 19. Three of the new cases are workers, one is a patient. One hundred twenty-six have been tested and 20 are negative, 63 results are still pending.
The hospital also sent a statement saying additional measures have begun to prevent more outbreaks:
“Currently staff are being issued a mask at the start of each shift and will receive an additional mask if theirs becomes soiled or damaged… We now do allow staff to bring in their own masks but require them to use hospital-issued N95 masks in COVID-19 patient care areas.”
The state is also pitching in to help the workers.
“Substantial amounts of PPE have been provided to protect the health of healthcare workers. Over four pallets of masks and gloves and gowns and other things were delivered to the hospital,” said Anderson.