Hawaii county that had no virus cases reports first

HONOLULU — Kalawao County on Molokai, believed to be the last county in the U.S. without any coronavirus infection cases, has reported its first resident who tested positive.

The Hawaii Department of Health said Thursday that an adult resident tested positive after returning to the island on a flight.

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The person, who was not identified, is in self-isolation and being monitored but has no virus symptoms, the department said.

Contact tracing has been conducted and all of the person’s recent close contacts were asymptomatic and being monitored, the department said.

All other passengers on the flight were also in self-quarantine, the department said.

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The infected person is a resident of Kalaupapa Settlement. The community once served as a home for medical patients with Hansen’s Disease, also known as leprosy, who were forced to relocate and isolate there.

The state abolished the law requiring the isolation in 1969. But former patients who chose to remain were allowed to continue living in Kalaupapa with state support.

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