Clusters continue to emerge across Oahu; 6 positive cases hit Pearl City Nursing Home


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Another cluster of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Pearl City Nursing Home.

As of Sunday afternoon, July 12, Dr. Scott Miscovich, president and founder of Premier Medical Group Hawaii, said there have been six confirmed cases there.

Health experts said that Hawaii will continue to see more clusters if people continue to gather in large groups and inside smaller areas.

Dr. Miscovich said his team has kept busy as COVID numbers continue to rise across the state.

“We’re doing the strike team testing. This is the testing when you have an outbreak and you need to be on the spot immediately,” he said. “I can’t even publicly announce how many different places we’ve had to go that are workplaces, nursing homes etc. and have everybody there tested.”

His team was called to Pearl City Nursing Home two days ago after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

“Late Thursday night one of the staff members was found to be positive after a family member was positive. We were immediately called by the leadership there, and we went over the following mid-day and within about 18 hours we had all 101 residents tested as well as 200 staff tested and that’s when we found out there were four positive residents and then another staff member so six total individuals on two different floors,” Dr. Miscovich explained.

His team will test at the facility on Monday, and on Friday, and will continue to test until there are zero cases reported for two consecutive weeks.

Dr. Miscovich said a doctor with the Department of Health began contact tracing at the nursing home.

“The state has been doing a good job and beefing up (contact tracing) and I’ll commend them, we’re getting good response from them with contact tracing but it doesn’t help us if you get a result seven days from now or 10 days from now to then go backward and contact trace, because you’re going to have that many more people to trace,” explained Dr. Miscovich. “Many things could happen with the individual that you need to do it right away.”

He said Hawaii residents should go back to the mentality most had back in March and April when the pandemic began, which he said was similar to preparing for a hurricane.

“Think about when this started. There was no more toilet paper at Costco, water was gone. We treated this like Hawaii treats a hurricane or tsunami because for those of us who have lived here a long time, you take it serious. You get in a mode that it’s time to listen and we had that attitude when COVID was first announced. We all listened, we all wore masks, separated, stayed at home, we were careful. We need to turn that back on because there is another hurricane and tsunami coming at Hawaii and people need to turn that attitude that we all know so well living in the middle of the Pacific that we need to be serious about this,” he said.

He said many of the new clusters have also come from people gathering in close confined spaces and encourages people to be outside and separated.

He said now is not the time to re-open to visitors with cases surging on the mainland.

“There is no chance we should be opening up right now. It’s a perfect storm. You have surges in the mainland. If you look across the country, many states are saying–if you’re coming from Florida or another state that you have to quarantine, we’re not the only ones quarantining, and then we let them in?” he said.

“If we’re serious, we’ll quickly drop it down, and then we can get our economy open. We all have friends and family that are devastated by the economic impacts of this,” explained Dr. Miscovich. “Some look at us as if we don’t care–no we care. Everyone is affected by it, but we know if we do the right thing quickly–from a healthcare perspective–that’s the fastest way we’re going to open our economy and tourism again.”

KHON2 reached out Pearl City Nursing Home. Here is the full statement provided:

Pearl City Nursing Home has successfully staved off COVID-19 from our facility since the start of the pandemic. Unfortunately, we learned Thursday that one employee tested positive for community-acquired COVID-19. We immediately notified the Hawaii Department of Health and are continuing to follow their guidance.

We also contacted Dr. Miscovich and the Premier Medical Group that day to provide additional guidance and assistance. We began testing on Friday, 7/10/20, and as of Saturday, 7/11/20, all residents have been tested and those that are positive have been isolated in a “red zone” we created to contain the virus. All other residents have tested negative during this initial testing. Initial staff testing has also resulted in one additional positive staff, with all others tested being negative.

As recommended by the Hawaii Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the two employees who tested positive are now in isolation in their own homes and are not working at Pearl City Nursing Home. They will remain in isolation until cleared and we receive guidance from the State Department of Health that it is safe for them to return to work.

Following CDC, CMS, and DOH recommendations, we will continue to conduct temperature scans and screen all employees for signs and symptoms of COVID- 19 during their work shift. We will also continue to follow recommendations concerning screening, PPE usage, hand washing and sanitizing, and proper social distancing when appropriate. Staff assigned to the “red zone” will enter and exit the facility through separate doors and will not interact with others in the building. We will continue to maintain these practices as long as it is recommended by the Department of Health and Premier Medical Group.

Denise Bilodeau, Administrator of Pearl City Nursing Home

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