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COVID-19 Hospitalizations Go Down at HMC

September 1, 2020, 5:18 PM HST
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HMC and Clinical Labs collaborated on providing self-test kits for health care workers exposed to COVID-19 patients. (PC: Hilo Medical Center)

COVID-19 hospitalizations at Hilo Medical Center have gone down.

Five patients were released from HMC’s COVID-19 unit where nine are still being treated. Two patients remain in the ICU. HMC worked with Clinical Labs to make 25 self-test kits available to employees caring for COVID-19 patients who have been exposed. More kits will be made available if needed.

Two residents from Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home were among those released from the hospital. Another remains at HMC.

A cluster of cases was identified at the VA home last week. Overall, 28 residents and 10 employees tested positive for the virus. Three veterans, with underlying health conditions, died. Twenty-four residents are currently being cared for at the VA home’s COVID designated area.

According to officials at the VA home, the virus entered the facility through a staff member who was exposed in the community. Retesting of residents and staff started Monday afternoon and continued Tuesday.

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Additionally, HMC’s Behavioral Health Unit is set to restart admissions soon after a staff member tested positive for the virus last weekend. The unit has completed a second round of surveillance testing for staff who had direct contact with the COVID-positive employee.

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The hospital will do one more round of surveillance testing and are assessing restarting admissions to the unit after results are received. Admissions to the unit will restart, pending negative results of second surveillance testing. Patients admitted to the unit going forward will require a negative test.

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