HONOLULU (KHON2) — Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino confirmed a second positive COVID-19 case on Molokai on April 4.
Mayor Victorino told KHON2 that the second patient came in direct contact with the first Molokai resident who tested positive for the coronavirus. That first patient is in a hospital on Oahu.
After the announcement of the first case, it was revealed that the patient is an employee of the Friendly Market Center. Officials worked with the market’s owners to test all employees. The second case came out of that round of testing.
“This is probably one of the worst cases that could have happened as far as transmitting to the community,” said Maui County Council Vice-Chair Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, who represents Molokai.
“There is a lot of fear right now, a lot of concern for those who had no idea and had direct contact with the first and second person,” she said.
Mayor Victorino said the woman who tested positive was not showing major symptoms and she was sent home when test results for the man came back positive earlier in the week. “At that point they asked her to self-isolate.”
The Friendly Market Center and nearby businesses were disinfected Saturday and Sunday.
Mayor Victorino said shipping will not be impacted by the confirmed cases and other grocery stores are working with one another to supply the 7,500 residents on Molokai.
“What was going to Friendly’s may be shifted to Kualapuu and Misaki’s, that way the supply chain will not be impacted,” Victorino explained.
To ensure the safety of the staff and residents, Kualapuu and Misaki’s have temporarily switched to curbside pick up.
On Tuesday, Dr. Scott Miscovich and his team will go to Molokai to offer drive-thru testing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We’re so grateful to them for coming and they’re planning to come every week on Tuesday’s,” said Rawlins-Fernandez
She said the two positive cases have made some Molokai residents understand the importance of social distancing and staying home.
“It definitely was a wake up call,” she said.
Both Mayor Victorino and Rawlins-Fernandez encourage all Molokai residents to wear masks and wash their hands.
Mayor Victorino said not all the employees test results have come back yet.
After the first case was confirmed earlier this week from an employee of the Friendly Market Center, Mayor Victorino, Senator English, and Representative DeCoite worked with the market’s owners to facilitate testing for all employees.
The second positive test came out of that round of testing. As a result, Friendly Market Center will remain closed until April 20 and employees are going into self-isolation.
Mayor Victorino said: “I have been notified that test results for a second individual have returned positive on Moloka‘i. The individual is an employee of Friendly Market Center and is in self-isolation. I have been told that all employees at Friendly Market Center have immediately self-quarantined and that the store will be closed until April 20.
“Unfortunately, this situation was a strong possibility after the first individual, who also is a store employee, tested positive. Representative Lynn DeCoite, Senator J. Kalani English, and I have all been working with the local businesses to help sanitize their buildings and surrounding areas. I want the residents of Moloka‘i to know that we will make sure that services and goods will continue to arrive to the island.
“My primary focus is to maintain essential supplies for Moloka‘i and ensure their health and safety,” the Mayor said.
Senator English said: “By facilitating immediate testing on the island and getting the results processed on O‘ahu the next day, we were able to identify a second positive case at the store and take steps to reduce further spread. The Friendly Market will close for 14 days. We are working to ensure the other stores in Kaunakakai have sufficient food and resources for island residents.”
Representative DeCoite said: “Tonigh,t we were made aware of the second confirmed case on Molokaʻi. The person is another employee of Friendly Market. Now, more than ever, it is important that we all comply with the County and State stay-at-home orders.
“We know this is in the Moloka‘i community,” she said. “The way we kokua one another is to STAY AT HOME! It is ALL of our responsibility to STOP THE SPREAD by staying home! I know we are all scared and want information. For now, STAY AT HOME. Only send one person to get groceries and supplies for your household.
“Moloka‘i, we are strong, we are resilient and right now is our chance to show the rest of the state how we can come together by complying with all of the County and State recommendations to protect everyone in our community!,” said Representative DeCoite.
The Friendly Market Center will be closed until April 20. Employees are going into self-isolation.
“I have all been working with the local businesses to help sanitize their buildings and surrounding areas,” said Mayor Victorino. “I want the residents of Molokai to know that we will make sure that services and goods will continue to arrive to the island. My primary focus is to maintain essential supplies for Molokai and ensure their health and safety.
Officials want to remind the public to stay at home.