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5 Kaiser employees linked to coronavirus care under ‘self-monitoring’ at home

Updated: Mar. 9, 2020 at 5:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kaiser Permanente says five of its employees are now self-monitoring at home because they were involved in the care of two people with coronavirus.

The employees are under 14 days of state Department of Health supervision.

Kaiser says they are not going to work, but they’re not required to remain in a designated location and separated from others.

Hawaii's first case of COVID-19 was identified as a Kaiser male patient who's recovering at home.

The second presumptive case is an elderly man who went to a Kaiser urgent care facility on March 4 after flying home from Washington State.

Kaiser says he wasn’t tested for COVID-19 because he didn’t meet the CDC’s requirements for testing.

On March 7, he was taken by ambulance to Kaiser Moanalua and is now in isolation.

"I wasn't very surprised to be honest with you because I think it is in the community. It's just a matter of the testing coming back," said

Maureen Meehan-Golonka, the interim president of the Hawaii Nurses and Healthcare Professionals, said health care workers are taking precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“There is PPE (personal protective equipment) that they are wearing basically full top to bottom and they are wearing masks, a respirator,” she said.

She says isolation rooms have reverse air flow so the air is not recirculating through the rest of the hospital.

There’s no cure for COVID-19, but staff can treat the symptoms, such as dehydration. She also says staff interactions with patients in isolation are monitored.

"As far as the number of providers, they track who's in the room and who's out of the room so they can keep track of any potential exposures," said Meehan-Golonka.

Kaiser is screening people coming to the hospital including taking temperatures.

“I think in terms of walking through clinics and medical facilities, I think you are going to have people walking in with flu-like symptoms. It’s hard to differentiate between the regular flu and the COVID so as far as knowing where they are at, I think we have to treat everybody as if they are potential,” she said.

That's why healthcare professionals are urging people to call their doctor if they're sick before visiting a facility.

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