Man visiting from Washington becomes Hawaii’s 10th COVID-19 death

HNN 5 p.m. April 18, 2020

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui County logged one new death Sunday, bringing the statewide death toll into the double digits.

The DOH said 10 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported statewide — six on Oahu, four on Maui. The latest death reported Sunday, according to health officials, was an adult male visitor from Washington State.

Officials said he was in the 40 to 59 age group and had no previous medical conditions. He was hospitalized for an extended period at the Maui Memorial Medical Center (MMMC). His exposure history may be travel-related.

This comes as three additional people at the Maui hospital are being examined as possible ties to the cluster of cases reported. A total of 45 people, 29 staff and 16 patients, are been identified in the MMMC outbreak.

Meanwhile on Hawaii Island, the Department of Health said the cluster of coronavirus cases in Kailua-Kona grew to 30.

On Saturday alone, Hawaii Island saw a 17-case spike in reported positives.

The DOH said the 30 confirmed cases are now tied to three McDonald’s restaurants — one at the Kona Commons, another inside a Walmart, and the McDonald’s at 75-5729 Kuakini Hwy.

Exactly 18 of those patients are employees while 12 other positives were household members of those employees.

DOH says they are continuing contact tracing for those infected. The locations have all temporarily closed.

“Naturally, we were feeling very positive about what was going on and hopeful," Big Island Mayor Harry Kim said Saturday. “Then from last week Thursday ... to now, we have what we have — 27 of the 30 people under quarantine — from that one situation.”

Officials say this cluster is likely a result of an employee who continued to work despite being sick.

“This so clearly demonstrates how important it is to follow the health advisories of the Department of Health of stay at home if you are sick, sneezing and coughing etiquette, physical distancing, social gatherings and staying healthy. We owe it to our family and the community to do our share. This is a community issue and needs all to do their part,” Kim said in a radio update Saturday.

“The lesson for all of us to learn in this is from very low numbers, you can see how very easily, just one person - just one person - began this chain reaction of families and fellow employees,” Kim added. He said testing in Kona will continue.

Also new on Saturday, the maps from the DOH reflect at least one positive case in Naalehu on Hawaii Island.

At least two new areas are now reporting 21 or more cases, and are now colored dark red on the maps. Kailua-Kona and Kahului are the latest zip codes to be darkened to red.

Zone maps with reported cases as of April 17, 2020.
Zone maps with reported cases as of April 17, 2020. (Source: DOH)

This story may be updated.

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