‘Tiger Team’ wraps up work at vets home

Eight new cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday on the Big Island, as cases are leveling.

No new updates were provided Thursday from Life Care Center of Hilo, where cases counts also have remained steady in recent days.

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As of Wednesday, the facility had 55 residents and 17 employees test positive for COVID-19 since late September.

Only seven active resident cases remain at the the facility, and one resident is receiving treatment at Hilo Medical Center. Two residents have been discharged, and 35 have recovered.

The total number of COVID-related resident deaths at Life Care Center remains at 10.

A “Tiger Team” from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, deployed in September to assist Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home with an outbreak of COVID-19, left the facility earlier this month.

“The VA’s team departed Oct. 10 after supplementing our efforts towards the end of the outbreak,” Administrator Doug Taylor said. “In our increasing efforts to safeguard our residents and stop the spread of this historic virus, we appreciate all of the support we received in recent months.”

The 18-person multidisciplinary team started Sept. 17 and was expected to continue through Oct. 28, a VA spokesperson previously said.

The team aimed to provide educational and operational support to the Hilo veterans home amid a devastating outbreak of COVID-19 that began in late August — in which 71 residents and 35 employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and 27 residents died.

According to Hawaii County Civil Defense, eight people were hospitalized on the Big Island as of Thursday.

The DOH on Thursday reported 77 new COVID-19 cases statewide, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 14,911.

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Three new cases were reported on Lanai, one one Kauai, 60 on Oahu, and six were residents diagnosed outside of Hawaii. One case from Maui was recategorized to Lanai.

The state also reported the deaths of two Oahu men, one 50-59 and one older than 80. Both men had underlying conditions and had been hospitalized.

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