Big Island residents self-monitoring for COVID-19

Four Big Island residents continue to self-monitor with public health supervision for COVID-19, the newly identified coronavirus, state officials said in a Tuesday afternoon update.

The residents are among 61 across the state keeping an eye out for symptoms, 55 of whom are located on Oahu and the remainder evenly split between Kauai and Maui counties.

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“Currently, there are no cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaii. DOH is actively preparing for possible cases and working with state, county, and federal partners including the medical community in Hawaii,” the State of Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center said in a press release.

Currently, no Hawaii residents are in quarantine, according to the center.

The 61 individuals under monitoring were identified because of their recent travel to China were identified through screening by federal officials at the Daniel K. International Airport, according to the release.

Self-monitoring means voluntarily remaining at home and refrain from work, school, gathering places, and public transit, and communicating daily with Department of Health staff. Quarantined individuals are required to remain in a designated location, separated from others, and are actively monitored by Department of Health staff. Quarantine is enforceable by law.

While there are no cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaii at this time, “state health officials do expect to eventually identify cases in Hawaii because this is a global health threat to our entire nation,” the center said. “At this time, the imminent threat here in Hawaii is low. Nevertheless, state and county agencies are intensifying their preparations.”

The Department of Health advises residents to prepare now by creating a family plan; putting together an emergency kit that includes a 14-day supply of food, water and other necessities; setting aside emergency supply of any needed medication; and picking up supplies for your pets.

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To help prevent the spread of the virus, health officials recommend that people wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick; stay home when sick; cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue; and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.

COVID-19 information is also available in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Ilocano languages under “Resources” at the DOH website at https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/advisories/novel-coronavirus-2019.

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