Daily DOH Update on COVID-19

February 20, 2020, 12:41 PM HST (Updated February 20, 2020, 12:41 PM)
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The Hawai‘i Department of Health continues to gather facts and interview individuals about a husband and wife who traveled together from Japan to Hawai‘i (Jan. 28-Feb.7) and after returning home to Japan, tested positive for COVID-19.

DOH was notified by the Japan Ministry of Health that the husband remains hospitalized and the wife has recovered. The airlines and lodging facilities where they stayed on O‘ahu and Maui are reaching out to employees, staff and guests to keep them informed. DOH immediately began to identify possible close contacts and determine health risk.

To date, no individuals with prolonged close contact have been identified in Hawai‘i. Casual contacts, who are not at risk, have been interviewed and are not in need of monitoring based on current federal guidelines. All persons identified are either low or no risk under these guidelines, and no one is required to be monitored under public health supervision related to this situation. Work to track possible close contacts is ongoing, and DOH is working closely with state, federal and international partners.

Cruise Ships

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American passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have been flown to bases in California and Texas for quarantine for 14 days. These actions are under federal authority and, at this time, the Department of Health does not have information on the passengers who are Hawai‘i residents.

At least four Hawai‘i residents who were passengers on the Westerdam cruise ship (Holland America) and have returned home. DOH is contacting these individuals and was advised that the cruise passengers are not at risk and do not pose a risk to others.

CDC Laboratory Test Kits

Currently, all laboratory testing to confirm COVID-19 is being conducted at the CDC laboratory in Atlanta, Georgia. The test kits sent to state laboratories, including Hawai‘i, had an issue with negative control primer probe sets included in each kit. New test kits are being developed by CDC. After the test kits are shipped and received by DOH, it is anticipated that Hawai‘i may be ready to conduct the testing in early or mid-March. DOH has offered to be a beta-tester for the new kits to ensure they work properly. If Hawai‘i becomes a beta-tested, it means our state may have earlier access to the testing process.

No cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawai‘i at this time

Currently, there are no cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawai‘i. DOH is actively preparing for possible cases and working with state, county, and federal partners including the medical community in Hawai‘i. The following summary as of Feb. 20 shows the number of individuals being monitored or under quarantine because of their recent travel to China. These individuals were identified through screening by federal officials at the Daniel K. International Airport.

COVID-19 Summary of Numbers as of Feb. 20, 2020
(updated as new information becomes available)

Number of Confirmed Case(s) 0

Number of Persons Under Investigation (current, testing pending) 0

Number of Persons Under Investigation (closed, testing negative) 0

Number of Persons Under Quarantine 1

Number of Persons Self-Monitoring 35

Of the 35 individuals who are self-monitoring, 34 are on O‘ahu and 1 is on Maui. The individual under mandatory quarantine will remain at the Pearl Harbor quarantine center until Feb. 22.

Per CDC guidelines, testing is conducted only on individuals who meet the criteria as a Person Under Investigation (PUI) who exhibit symptoms of respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath) and have traveled to China within the past 14 days.

CDC Category Definitions

Confirmed: Meets CDC criteria and positive test result received from a certified laboratory.

Person Under Investigation (PUI): Meets CDC criteria for investigation and testing pending.

Quarantine: Individuals are required to remain in a designated location and separated from others. They are actively monitored by Department of Health staff. Quarantine is enforceable by law.

Monitoring: Individuals voluntarily remain at home and refrain from work, school, gathering places, and public transit. They communicate daily with Department of Health staff.

The Department of Health is committed to sharing information as it becomes available. People are urged not spread misinformation or inaccurate statements that are not confirmed, and keep updated and informed on the situation. Everyone can help prevent the spread of respiratory illness with these everyday actions.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

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