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7 Individuals Hospitalized at HMC for COVID-19

August 21, 2020, 3:40 PM HST
* Updated August 22, 1:11 PM
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Hilo Medical Center. File photo.

Hilo Medical Center admitted its first COVID-19 patients this week, two of which are in the Intensive Care Unit, officials confirmed Friday.

HMC hospitalized the first patient earlier in the week — six others soon followed, said HMC spokeswoman Elena Cabatu. She would not confirm whether or not any of the individuals were using a ventilator.

The patients are located throughout the hospital in negative pressure rooms, where airflow only flows out and is not circulated in the facility. Up to this point, Cabatu said, they have been managing the recent intakes with the resources and staff they currently have on hand.

“Fortunately, we had months to stock up on supplies that make us feel more secure,” she added.

With the hospitalizations, Cabatu said staff have been reviewing its COVID-19 playbook and making adjustments where needed, one of which is offering testing to medical care professionals treating the COVID-19 patients.

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While the hospital does have a policy allowing admittance of one visitor per patient, Cabatu said, no visitors are allowed for the COVID-19 patients.

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“It’s a kudos to our community for staving off the hospitalizations,” Cabatu said, adding this is a good reminder for residents to “buckle down and stop the spread.”

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March. In June, Cabatu said they tested all staff at HMC and the 196 test samples came back negative.

The Big Island reported 13 new cases, according to DOH statistics, where the department says 41 cases remained active as of Friday. Cases are spread across the island, though are most heavily concentrated in the East Hawai‘i area, particularly Hilo. The state does not typically provide more in-depth details on new cases in its regular updates.

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