School, restaurant with positive coronavirus cases may be linked to growing Molokai cluster


HONOLULU (KHON2) — At least one school and restaurant may be linked to a COVID-19 cluster on Molokai.

The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed a cluster of a dozen cases on the island on Thursday, May 13.

Community members are currently being tested and positive cases are expected to rise in the coming days.

DOH officials say the outbreak was traced to contractors that worked at Molokai General Hospital (MGH) but did not have direct contact with patients.

In a statment the MGH Presdient Janice Kalanihuia said:
“On Tuesday afternoon, MGH was notified that one of the contractors who had been on Molokai the
previous week tested positive for COVID-19 on Maui. We immediately shut down the job and tested the 12 people who were on-site at that time. Four of them tested positive and all were immediately sent totheir housing here on Molokai to quarantine.”

“The project that they were working on was the air conditioning system,” Molokai Rep. Lynn DeCoite said. “It was isolated in the backside, original entry. That area has been isolated, sealed off or sanitize, and it’s been taken care of.”

Rep. DeCoite added that a student at Kaunakakai Elementary School who tested positive is linked to the cluster. She explained how the child was infected.

“A local resident worked for the company, he got infected and then he went home and it spread to the family,” Rep. Decoite said.

Kaunakakai Elementary School Principal sent out a letter to notify parents on Thursday:
“We have been made aware today by the DOH that one of our students was recently
diagnosed with COVID-19. We are in contact with the family and have sent our aloha for
a speedy recovery. This student was last on campus Tuesday May 11, 2021. Out of
respect for this family’s privacy, we will not be sharing any additional information.
Our school is taking the necessary precautions including notifying all close contacts,
cleaning and disinfecting the impacted areas, coordinating the next steps with the
Hawaiʻi State Department of Education’s COVID-19 Response Team, and sharing case
information with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health (DOH).”

On Friday, May 14, the Department of Education confirmed there are two students at the school with the virus and they are disinfecting the area.

Maui County councilmember Keani Rawlins-Fernandez says Hiro’s Ohana Grill, located in Hotel Molokai, temporarily closed on Wednesday, May 12, due to COVID-19.

“Hiro’s Ohana Grill posted on social media that someone on their staff did test positive, and that they were closing the restaurant for deep cleaning,” Rawlins-Fernandez explained.

She did not know if that case is linked to the cluster.

Rep. Decoite said, she expects the number of positive cases to increase but that everyone is doing all they can to alleviate the situation.

“I cannot tell you how many people are working on this to isolate it,” Rep. DeCoite said. “We are standing by. We are hoping for the best, expecting the worse.”

Molokai General Hospital is offering free testing Tuesday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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