Overnight Spike in COVID Cases Prompts ‘No Visitor’ Policy to HMC Emergency Department

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Hilo Medical Center officials have enacted a ‘no visitor’ policy to its emergency department until further notice due to an overnight influx of COVID-19 positive patients.

COVID hospitalizations spiked from six to 12, HMC officials confirmed Saturday, July 31. All individuals were unvaccinated. HMC is nearing full capacity with limited beds available. Health workers are seeing a large spike of patients needing testing, examination and treatment for COVID.

“Given this situation, our Hilo Medical Center Emergency Department has implemented a ‘no visitor’ policy for the Emergency Department until further notice,” officials announced Saturday, July 31.

Exceptions include pediatric patients 18 years and below, and for highly critical, end-of-life situations. Regular visiting hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for inpatient visitors remain in place for now, but hospital staff is assessing the need to modify policies over the next few days as they manage the current COVID outbreak among the community’s unvaccinated population.


Starting Aug. 9, all inpatient units at East Hawai‘i health clinics will be allowed to visitors per patient during the visiting hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. All visitors 12 and older must be vaccinated.

Hale Ho‘ola Hāmākua in Honoka‘a and Ka‘ū Hospital do not allow any visitors in their emergency departments. Visiting policies at Hale Ho‘ola Hāmākua’s and Ka‘ū Hospital’s inpatient and long-term care units, and the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home and HMC’s Extended Care Department are governed by the state and federal government.

Currently, visitors to HMC’s long-term care facilities are not required to show proof of vaccination.

Where to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Pfizer is offered at the Arc of Hilo, located at 1099 Waianuenue Ave., until Aug. 13. Walk-ins are accepted Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Click here to schedule an appointment.
  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is being offered in the lobby at HMC, located at 1190 Waianuenue Ave., through the month of August. Walk-ins are accepted daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is being offered in Kea‘au at the East Hawai‘i Health Clinic Kea‘au, located at 16-523 Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road. Walk-in appointments are available daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. COVID-19 testing is also available. For more information, call the clinic at 808-932-3830.
  • The Ka‘ū Hospital Rural Health Clinic, located in Pahala, is offering the Moderna vaccine. Call 808-932-4205 to schedule an appointment. Appointments are available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to noon and 1-3:30 p.m. COVID-19 testing is also available.

Where to Get a COVID-19 Test


Emergency departments at HMC, Hale Ho‘ola Hāmākua in Honoka‘a and Ka‘ū Hospital are taking walk-ins for COVID-19 test.

East Hawai‘i Health Clinics are also taking walk-ins. Clinics are located at 1285 Waianuenue Avenue in Hilo; 16-523 Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road in Kea‘au; Puna Community Medical Center in the Malama Market Place in Pāhoa; and Ka‘ū Rural Health Clinic.

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