Cluster of COVID-19 cases tied to Kona restaurant

The Department of Health confirmed Tuesday it is investigating a “limited, localized community spread” of COVID-19 among employees at a Kona food establishment.

“Fortunately, the restaurant, like many food establishments, had previously implemented social distancing measures to protect customers and prevent exposure prior to an employee testing positive,” a statement from the Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center said. The name of the establishment was not provided.

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The establishment, which Health Director Bruce Anderson identified Tuesday afternoon as McDonald’s, has closed its operation and performed “enhanced cleaning,” according to the center. No additional information regarding the number of employees that worked at the restaurant was provided.

“Employees who have tested positive are in isolation and exposed employees without symptoms are self-quarantined at home,” the center said, but did not confirm the number of positive cases.

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Mayor Harry Kim said Tuesday afternoon that 12 people — including employees and their family members — had tested positive for COVID-19.

“The investigation is ongoing and based on findings thus far, DOH does not believe this outbreak poses a risk to the general public,” the center said. “The department is continuing to work with the restaurant to ensure all possible precautions are being taken to prevent further spread of disease.”

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