DOH Deems Outbreak Cluster “Closed”, One COVID-19 Patient Remains at Maui Memorial Medical Center
By Wendy Osher
The state Department of Health this afternoon said the outbreak at Maui Memorial Medical Center in Kahului is now considered “closed.”
“We are pleased that the JIC (Hawaiʻi COVID-19 Joint Information Center) has officially closed the MMMC cluster,” said Maui Health spokesperson Tracy Dallarda. “It is a testament to our team of caregivers and our community in following state and county guidelines in an effort to ‘flatten the curve.'”
According to Dallarda, Maui Health today has one positive COVID-19 patient in the hospital and only one “warm” COVID-19 isolation unit, which will remain in place for any future COVID needs.
Maui Health officials say “today marks the passing of two incubation periods (28 days) since the onset of any COVID-19 symptoms that could be attributed to the Maui Health System cluster.”
According to Dallarda, the cluster of individuals linked to the Maui Health outbreak totaled 52 including 38 health care workers and 14 patients who had tested positive. This includes 2 travel related and two community acquired cases in workers. A 39th health care worker case identified earlier was later removed from connection to the cluster and counted as a “household contact” by the state Department of Health.
The Maui Health count continues to differ from the state count. According to the state of Hawaiʻi COVID-19 Joint Information Center, as of May 20, there are 60 COVID-19 positive cases (38 staff and 22 patients) under investigation as potentially associated with the cluster. The state Department of Health notes that investigations are ongoing to determine whether COVID-19 infection occurred as a result of the outbreak or whether they may have had the infection related to another exposure.
A hospital spokesperson says all testing related to the cluster at the hospital has been completed.
“I am very happy to hear this news, but we will still be vigilant,” said Maui Mayor Michael Victorino during an afternoon press conference (scroll down to see video in its entirety). “We’re still going to be testing. We have assurances from the hospital that they will continue to do testing.”
“All of our workers that are front line heroes that are out there–doctors, nurses and all the medical staff, and our essential service and our first responders–need to have the ability… (to have) tests available and quick turnaround times. “I’m excited with the good news and I hope and pray it stays this way from this point forward,” said Mayor Victorino.
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino provided updates relating to COVID-19 in Maui County. Special guests Dr. Melissa Nicoletti with Minit Medical and Cliff Alakai with Maui Medical Group provided information about testing, screening and Telehealth.
Today, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he would be ramping up coronavirus testing to over 100,000 tests, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser. We asked Mayor Victorino about Maui’s testing capacity and goals in comparison.
“We have 1/6 the population of Oʻahu. And if you look per capita, we’re pretty much one of the highest tested groups in the entire state. So we’re going to continue with the help of our health care providers and other outside sources to continue taking and ramping up testing. I don’t know if I could promise 100,000–that would be pretty much two-thirds of our population. I don’t think they are capable of taking on that much; however, we will continue looking and testing in all segments of our community,” said Mayor Victorino.
*Video courtesy County of Maui and Akakū.