All 98 HOPE Services shelter residents and staff tested last week for COVID-19 have received negative results, the organization announced Monday.
HOPE Services reported its first case of COVID-19 on Saturday in an employee who last worked Aug. 27 at the Kihei Pua family shelter in Hilo. According to the organization, the employee immediately notified a supervisor upon learning that a family member might have been exposed to the virus and went into isolation. Although an initial test came back negative, a positive result was returned Thursday.
Staff, vendors and shelter residents who might have come into close contact with the employee were notified and tested with negative results.
A second round of testing was conducted Thursday at Kihei Pua, as well as at five additional shelters in Hilo and Pahoa, including Hale Maluhia, Keolahou, Hale Hanakahi, Ohea House and Sacred Heart Shelter.
A total of 98 people were tested, with each receiving a negative result, said CEO Brandee Menino on Monday.
Testing at Kona shelters is planned this week, she said.
In the wake of the positive test, HOPE Services staff and state and county officials met to discuss contingency plans should a surge in cases occur in the homeless community, as did last month on Oahu.
“What we’ve learned is that our community needs more isolation and quarantine units in order to be better prepared for increased COVID positive surges,” Menino said during the weekend.
On Monday, she urged the community to take action.
“If you have available properties that could be used for isolation or quarantine sites, call Talmadge Magno at Civil Defense,” she said.
Civil Defense can be reached by calling 935-0031.
The organization also needs space for staff in the event of exposure to the coronavirus. Anyone who can help is encouraged to email HOPE Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.