Evidence of Community Transmission has Begun in Hawai‘i
The “evidence of community transmission” has begun on the island of Oʻahu where 10 COVID-19 cases were reported yesterday and 11 more cases were reported today for a total of 28 on the island, and 37 total across the state, according to state Health officials.
Dr. Bruce Anderson, Director of the Hawaiʻi Department of Health said two of the 11 cases had no travel history and no known contacts with others who are infected, suggesting that the virus is circulating to some extent in the community.
State health officials say that if community transmission is happening, it is probably not widespread at this time.
Dr. Sarah Park, Hawaiʻi State Epidemiologist said the two cases in question are both on the island of Oʻahu, however they are not associated with each other. Given the island’s population density, she said the finding was not a surprise.
The remaining Oahu cases involve people who traveled, with a couple of family units among them, and a child is also among the new cases.
Todays results all came from private labs which have collected over 1,000 samples to date.
State health officials said they need to be judicious in testing and do not want to test people that are asymptomatic, calling it a “waste of resources.”
Of the 37 positive test results to date, 32 of them are the result of traveling residents. The majority of cases are residents who returned home after traveling.
“At this time, there may be residents returning home from a school that has closed or from other essential travel. It is important for all travelers to monitor their health for 14 days after traveling and to stay at home if they become sick and avoid exposing others,” said a spokesperson with the state Department of Health.
Today’s Island-wide totals are as follows:
Oʻahu: 28 (10 new)
Maui: 5 (0 new)
Kauaʻi 3 (1 new)
Hawaiʻi Island: 1 (0 new)
Below are highlights from the state Department of Health
The Importance of Mental Health
As we head into the weekend, the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) encourages everyone to take care of themselves and heed the social distancing directives by Gov. David Ige and county officials. Here are four suggestions to keep busy and stay at ease:
- You can remain active and go outdoors while still complying with social distancing directives. Although all of Hawai‘i’s state parks and facilities are now either fully or partially closed, the forest reserves (https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/frs/reserves/) and Na Hele Trail and Access Program trails (https://hawaiitrails.hawaii.gov/trails/#/) remain open at this time.
- While dine-in options at restaurants may be suspended at this time, many eateries are offering their menus or special promotions for drive-thru, take out, pick-up or delivery.
- Hawai‘i’s state public libraries are always open online at librarieshawaii.org with amazing online resources available 24/7. Available for those with a Hawai‘i library card, the online collection is free and includes a variety of eBooks, eAudioBooks, digital subscriptions to newspapers and magazines, classes and language learning, and more.
- Stay connected with kūpuna or loved ones in retirement or care homes virtually, by phone, tablet or computer.
Be Considerate When Purchasing Food and Supplies
The DOH reminds the public to be judicious when shopping for food and essential goods so that kūpuna and others in need are able to purchase necessary items. The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) Harbors Division continues to manage Hawai‘i’s commercial ports–the lifeline for Hawai‘i’s communities for food, medical supplies, clothing, household goods and more. There have been no interruptions to the supply chain as a result of COVID-19.
Definition of Community Spread
Community spread is defined as cases that cannot be traced back to a resident or visitor who traveled outside Hawai‘i or an individual who is in a high-contact job related to tourism, healthcare or emergency response.
Who Should be Tested for COVID-19?
Most people who are sick do not need to be tested. There is no specific medicine to treat COVID-19, so whether you test positive or negative, management of your illness will be the same.
Individuals who are not sick should not be tested even if they have been exposed to COVID-19.
Individuals who are sick with respiratory illness (e.g., fever and cough or shortness of breath) AND who are at a higher risk for severe respiratory infections (e.g., older people, those with chronic medical conditions including immunosuppression) should call their usual source of healthcare to discuss whether they should be tested for COVID-19 and/or other infections such as influenza.
- A provider’s referral is required to receive testing.
- If you do not have a provider, call an urgent care center or community clinic in your area.
Anyone having difficulty breathing should seek medical care immediately. If possible, call your healthcare provider first so they are prepared to receive you.
Other people with mild illness should help protect our most vulnerable and conserve our precious supplies by practicing social distancing measures, monitoring their illness, and calling their healthcare provider if their symptoms worsen or persist.
Sentinel Surveillance Testing Results
Today, the DOH received 61 negative results from test samples statewide, bringing the total count to 185 negative results. The goal is to identify possible community transmission of COVID-19.
Eleven New Positive Cases on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i
As of March 20, 2020, noon, there was a total of 37 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i. New positive results were announced today for 10 individuals on O‘ahu and one individual on Kaua‘i. Most Hawai‘i cases can be traced back to residents or visitors who got COVID-19 while traveling outside of the Hawaiian Islands or are in a high-contact job related to tourism, healthcare or emergency response. Two of the cases with positive results announced today are not related to travel, and are the first indication of some community spread.
The Department of Health will be posting case numbers daily at noon. The situation is fluid with constant changes. Any additional case information received after noon will be reported the following day.
COVID-19 Summary of Numbers as of March 20, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. HST
(updated as new information becomes available)
Number of Total Positive Case(s)* Statewide 37
Maui County 5
Hawai‘i Island 1
*Includes confirmed and presumptive cases.
Confirmed: Meets CDC criteria and positive test result received from a certified laboratory such as the DOH State Laboratories Division.
Presumptive Positive: Positive test results from a private laboratory requiring confirmation by a state public health laboratory.
2-1-1 Call Center for Information on COVID-19
The Aloha United Way call center is open daily between 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. For information or questions about COVID-19:
- Call 2-1-1 from any location in the state
- Text 877-275-6569
- Email [email protected]
- Visit health.hawaii.gov/covid19 or coronavirus.gov
Maui Quick Links:
- Maui Now’s Coronavirus Section, click here.
- Maui Now’s Running List of Closures, Cancellations, Postponed Items and Notices for Maui.
- Mayor Victorino’s Emergency Rules begin at 7:45 a.m. on Friday, March 20