Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Big Island COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket Overnight

April 18, 2020, 8:51 AM HST
* Updated April 18, 2:42 PM
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The number of positive COVID-19 cases on Hawai‘i Island skyrocketed overnight, jumping from 42 to 59.

The increase of 17 cases, by far the largest on the Big Island since testing began on Feb. 28, is connected to the McDonald’s case cluster in Kailua-Kona, according to Hawai‘i County Civil Defense. Calls to the county were not immediately returned, so it is unclear if those new positive cases confirmed Saturday morning were employees, family members of employees or customers.

The state Department of Health has said repeatedly over the last several days that customers have little reason for concern, as McDonald’s “did everything right” in regards to social distancing. However, Big Island Now has confirmed several reports that employees at the three restaurant locations in Kona did not universally practice social distancing and protective measures, including wearing masks and gloves at all times.

Of the 59 positive cases on the Big Island, 29 have been cleared as recovered and the remaining 30 are quarantined and under DOH monitoring.

“This so clearly demonstrates how important it is to follow the health advisories of the Department of Health of stay at home if you are sick, sneezing and coughing etiquette, physical distancing, social gatherings and staying healthy,” Civil Defense wrote in its report Saturday. “We owe it to our family and the community to do our share.”

Drive through testing will be conducted at the Hilo Civic Center on Sunday, April 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and in Kona at the Keauhou Shopping Center Monday, April 20 from 8 a.m. until noon and Thursday, April 23 from 8 a.m. until noon.

Screenings will also be conducted in Ocean View at St. Jude Episcopal Church on Wednesday, April 22. From 10 a.m. to noon, only those who’ve been prescreened via telehealth will be tested. From noon to 2 p.m., there will be limited on-site screening with testing if needed.

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