HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 36-year-old employee of an Institute for Human Services homeless shelter has died of COVID-19, the nonprofit confirmed in a statement Saturday.
IHS identified the man as Willie Talamoa.
In a statement to Hawaii News Now, IHS Executive Director Connie Mitchell said Talamoa was “always upbeat and positive” and “worked tirelessly to encourage and inspire our homeless shelter guests.”
“His young age reminds us all of our own vulnerability against this disease that does not discriminate.”
The nonprofit has responded to a cluster of COVID-19 cases at its men’s shelter on Sumner Street. In her statement, Mitchell said after discovering the cluster “we immediately moved to isolate COVID positive guests and any staff who had been potentially exposed. As part of this effort, we have been able outfit all staff entering COVID positive spaces with full personal protective equipment.”
She added that other IHS employees and clients who have tested positive for COVID-19 remain in quarantine.
“All necessary precautions are being taken to care for them and keep the community safe,” she said.
The death toll from COVID-19 in Hawaii stands at 47. Meanwhile, at least 6,356 people have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and more than 4,200 of those “active” cases.