Tuesday, Dec. 05, 2023|
Share this story
UPDATED 4:16 p.m.
Hilo Medical Center spokeswoman Elena Cabatu said the state Department of Health confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the test for a patient who was under investigation for possible COVID-19 has come back negative for the coronavirus.
The patient was in isolation at the hospital and will continue to be treated for a respiratory illness until he or she is ready to be discharged.
UPDATED 2:25 p.m.
One of three people in Hawaii under investigation for possible COVID-19 currently is in isolation at Hilo Medical Center.
Hospital spokeswoman Elena Cabatu said the patient came in “a few days ago” off of a cruise ship and was sick.
Out of an abundance of caution, “we decided to admit him and go through the protocols,” she told the Tribune-Herald.
Chief Medical Officer Jon Martell said when this individual came into HMC, its protocol was followed rapidly — the patient was masked and placed in the proper setting, with employees wearing protective gear.
“The chain of isolation has been unbroken on this patient, even if this test does turn out to be positive,” he said.
Martell said every patient and visitor coming into the HMC Emergency Department is screened at the door following state Department of Health recommendations for who might be considered a “person under investigation.”
A person under investigation means the individuals meets the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for investigation and testing.
Those who fall under that criteria are given a mask immediately and escorted to a negative pressure room.
No cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Hawaii.
One of three people under investigation for possible COVID-19 hails from the Big Island, state Health Director Bruce Anderson said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
“We do have three individuals who are currently under investigation: One from Oahu, one from the Big Island and one from Maui,” Anderson said after stressing there are no cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaii. “Hopefully they’ll also be negative.”
Anderson did not provide additional details on where the person under investigation is currently located on the Big Island or whether they are under a doctor’s care. Persons under investigation meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for investigation and testing, according to the state Department of Health.
Anderson said now that the state is able to test for the newly identified form of coronavirus, results should be back within a few hours.
“That’s a huge advantage for us. Normally, that would take about a week,” he said. If a test in Hawaii returns as a positive, it will be sent for confirmation at the CDC in Atlanta.
It’s also unclear if the person under investigation is one of a handful of Hawaii Island residents who were self-monitoring with public health supervision for COVID-19 as of Monday.
As of Monday, five Hawaii Island residents were among 91 people in the state self-monitoring with public health supervision for COVID-19, according to the most recent update from the State of Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center. The majority of the residents — 83 — are on Oahu with two on Kauai and one on Maui.
The 91 individuals were identified through screening by federal officials at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. These numbers fluctuate often as travelers arrive, depart, or begin and end their self-monitoring with supervision by DOH.
Two individuals in Hawaii who previously were identified as “persons under investigation” have tested negative for COVID-19, Anderson said.
The coronavirus has sickened more than 91,000 worldwide and killed more than 3,100, the vast majority in mainland China.
See Wednesday’s Tribune-Herald for more about this story.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *