Authorities confirm second case of coronavirus on Molokai

Authorities confirm second case of coronavirus on Molokai
The first case of coronavirus has been confirmed on Molokai. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A second person on Molokai has tested positive for coronavirus, according to Maui County officials.

On Thursday, authorities confirmed the first case on the island.

The first case was an adult male, who works at the Friendly Market Center. After his test results came back positive, the market facilitated testing for all employees.

State officials say the second case, reported Saturday, came from that round of testing.

Both people who tested positive are isolating at their homes.

Friendly Market Center will remain closed until April 20. All employees are being asked to go into self-isolation.

“The adult male had possible travel history and is currently hospitalized on Oahu," said Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino, in an emailed statement. "The Hawaii Department of Health is currently investigating the matter and any close contacts made by the individual.”

Maui County Councilwoman Keani Rawlins-Fernandez said the case triggered the temporary closure Thursday of the Friendly Market Center and Misaki Grocer in Kaunakakai for cleaning.

“People are scared. Our island is small. Our facilities are small. We cannot handle a surge here,” said Councilwoman Rawlins-Fernandez.

The possibility of coronavirus spreading on Molokai ― and potentially forcing the closure of essential stores ― was a scenario Maui County officials had been dreading.

The island, population roughly 7,500, has a dearth of health care facilities and professionals. It’s also home to the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, where a handful of Hansen’s disease survivors still live.

In a Facebook Live video Thursday, state Rep. Lynn DeCoite, who represents Molokai, Lanai and parts of Maui, urged residents to follow the stay-at-home order.

“If your kids out in the social hour, get their butts inside. Please, please I told you guys we don’t have the resources for this," she said. “Take this serious guys, take this serious. You can be the healthiest person today, but dropping dead by tomorrow.”

Concerns about coronavirus potentially spreading to Molokai and Lanai helped prompt the governor’s decision earlier this week to expand a mandatory travel quarantine to include inter-island passengers.

This story will be updated.

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