Hawai‘i Confirms 10 New COVID-19 Cases Thursday

March 19, 2020, 1:46 PM HST (Updated March 19, 2020, 1:51 PM)
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Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson announced 10 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i as of 1:20 p.m. Thursday.

“The count is not the relevant issue,” said State Epidemiologist Sarah Park, adding the numbers are likely to continue rising consistently. “Social distancing is so important.”

Eight of the new coronavirus cases are on O‘ahu and two are on Maui. All 10 were confirmed by private laboratories. The total number of confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 now stands at 26 across all Hawaiian Islands.

The infected individuals are a mix of residents and visitors to Hawai‘i, though officials didn’t have many more details about specific cases Thursday. Park said there was at least one case of family spread involved. As far as demographics, Anderson said COVID-19 cases in Hawai‘i mirror the infection demographics seen across much of the United States.

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“At this point, we don’t have a lot of information on the cases,” Park said. “Investigations are ongoing.”

Anderson said that all people who’ve tested positive either have a travel history with red flags or have come into contact with people who have such travel histories. Some of the cases are linked indirectly to travel, Park said, which is potential evidence of community spread.

“We’re not seeing any widespread evidence community transmission,” Anderson said. “That’s what we’d worry about most.”

The second round of testing as part of the state’s community surveillance program, which tests people with no relevant travel history who have respiratory issues but have tested negative for the flu virus, has completed 124 tests. Those tests have not produced any positive results to date, Anderson said.

Private labs have now returned more than 1,000 sample results over the last week or so, Anderson added.

Max Dible
Max Dible is the News Director for both Big Island Now and Kauai Now. He also serves as News Director for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations. He formerly worked as a community reporter for West Hawai‘i Today in Kailua-Kona from 2016 to 2019. Before that, he was a sports editor, sports reporter, and radio talk show personality covering college athletics in Iowa. He's won several regional and national journalism awards, at both the collegiate and professional levels, for breaking news, long-form feature writing, and his work as a sports columnist.

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