HONOLULU(KHON2)–Governor David Ige (D) said the couple spent almost a week on Maui before heading to Kauai and were showing symptoms the day after they arrived in the islands.
The latest confirmed cases of COVID-19 are a reminder of how important it is for people to tell their doctor where they’ve been and who they’ve come in contact with.
“In this case, that didn’t happen until they went to Wilcox (Medical Center) and at Wilcox they mentioned, ‘By the way, we’ve been in contact with a confirmed case,” State Department of Health President Bruce Anderson said.
That was March 12, 10 days after they first arrived on Maui.
The couple stayed in Lahaina from the March 2 to the 8.
“Shortly after arrival, Case A developed a fever, cough and shortness of breath. On March 4th, Case A was seen at an Urgent Care facility and given a rapid flu test that tested negative,” explained Ige.
Ige added that same day, the second person started feeling sick and went to an Urgent Care a couple days later.
The couple continued on their vacation, flying to Kauai on Hawaiian Airlines, staying at the Kauai Marriott.
March 9, they visited another Urgent Care, before finally going to Wilcox Medical Center on the 12th when their condition worsened.
“At that setting, they informed the health care professionals that they had a close contact with an individual that was COVID-19 positive,” Ige said.
Anderson said that if doctors knew their history, they would have been tested sooner.
The lack of information may have put others in danger.
“We are aware that the three health care workers that treated them were not wearing the appropriate personal, protective devices,” Ige said.
Ige said the health care workers and everyone else the couple came in contact were notified and are being monitored.
He said the couple is slowly recovering in quarantine.
“They are being quarantined in an isolation facility that the county of Kauai has established.”
KHON: “Where is that?”
“I don’t know that information,” Ige said.
Representative James Tokioka said they are doing as much as they can to protect everyone there.
“We’re not taking this thing lightly. We’re not worried about, what if we say these things people won’t go shopping and people won’t go out to restaurants. We want to support the businesses, but we want to make sure everybody’s healthy,” Tokioka explained.
Senate President Ron Kouchi from Kauai said he stands behind Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami’s decision to close County facilities, despite some push-back by community members.
Kouchi said that Kauai’s past dealing with Hurricane Iwa and Hurricane Iniki have prepared the island for disaster and they are resilient.
He added that Wilcox hospital also started limiting its access points from 20 to three last week for safety reasons.
So far, all four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hawaii are travel-related according to the State.
So why isn’t Hawaii screening everyone coming into the islands?
“Our experience is that screening people at the airport is not effective,” Ige said.
Ige said that Hawaii doesn’t have the resources.
We get tens-of-thousands of visitors at the airport everyday. For us to test– we talk about a testing capacity for 500 and we’re going to test a thousand people coming in from all around the world? That’s really not a practical solution,” Ige said.
Ige added that they do provide all visitors with contact information for medical services and encourage them to seek medical attention if they feel ill.