DOH: COVID clusters investigated in connection to Maui childcare program, Big Island homeless shelter


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii Department of Health’s (DOH) recent COVID cluster report on Jan. 6 stated two separate clusters were investigated — nine on Maui and 11 on the Big Island.

In June 2021, the DOH reported the Maui District Health Office investigated a cluster of nine COVID-19 cases associated with a childcare program in a shelter setting.

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Those who tested positive included the following: four out of seven children between the ages of two and 20-months-old; four out of 12 adult residents; one out of 21 staff members. According to the DOH, none of the residents were fully vaccinated when these cases were reported. Additionally, only half of the staff were fully vaccinated at the time.

No secondary cases were identified and one staff member was hospitalized, but the DOH stated: “they were likely exposed by a case unrelated to the shelter.”

Second, the Hawaii Country District Health Office investigated a cluster of 11 coronavirus cases in September 2021. The DOH reported these cases have been linked to a Big Island homeless shelter.

Out of the 21 identified individuals at the shelter, 10 tested positive for COVID-19 — only one case was fully vaccinated. Two families who regularly interacted with each other made up eight out of those 10 cases, according to the DOH. The shelter consists of micro-homes with shared bathrooms and a shared kitchen.

No employees tested positive, but one secondary case was identified from a family member outside the shelter — this person was a resident at a different shelter for seniors, and the DOH added that the initial exposure may have happened outside of the homeless shelter.

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

The names of the Maui childcare program and Big Island homeless shelter have not been disclosed by the DOH in this Jan. 6 cluster report.

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