Five Big Island residents self-monitoring for COVID-19

Five Hawaii Island residents are among nearly 100 people in the state self-monitoring with public health supervision for COVID-19.

The Big Islanders are among 91 across the state — including 83 on Oahu, two on Kauai and one Maui — keeping tabs for symptoms of the coronavirus that’s sickened more than 88,000 worldwide and killed more than 3,000, the vast majority in mainland China.

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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 Monday.

The 91 individuals were identified through screening by federal officials at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. These numbers fluctuate often as travelers arrive, depart, or begin and end their self-monitoring with supervision by DOH.

Meanwhile, two individuals under investigation have been cleared after testing negative for the virus, according to the center.

On Friday, Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim issued an emergency proclamation to increase preparedness for the possible arrival of COVID-19 in Hawaii. The proclamation is a proactive measure to prevent the virus from reaching Hawaii and to do all we can to limit its impact if it does come here.

Besides heightening preparedness, the proclamation allows for greater mobilization of county resources, positions the county for reimbursement should state or federal monies become available, allow for coordination with federal, state and other partners and allow for reassignment of county personnel, if necessary.

“Our goal is to stop the virus, and if it does come here, to mitigate the spread of the virus,” Kim said.

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 though the imminent threat remains low. 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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