Kona COVID-19 cluster doubles in one day

  • The Kona Commons McDonald’s is closed on Tuesday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Fifteen more people associated with a pair of Kona McDonald’s restaurants have tested positive for COVID-19, state health officials announced Saturday.

The additional cases brings to the total cluster to 29 employees and their household members, up from 14 on Friday, according to the Department of Health. To date, a total of 17 employees of McDonald’s locations at Kona Commons and inside the Kona Walmart as well as 12 household members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

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Both locations remain closed while the McDonald’s on Kuakini Highway remains open to drive-through customers.

The department said it is conducting contact tracing for new cases and continuing to monitor employees and family members, all of whom are in isolation or quarantine.

“It is critical that the community continues to be vigilant with practicing social distancing policies and preventive measures such as staying at home when sick, avoiding others that are sick, washing hands, sneezing and coughing etiquette and wearing a cloth face mask per Governor Ige’s fifth supplemental proclamation,” the department said.

The 15 Kona cases were among 17 new cases reported on Hawaii Island on Saturday by the state Department of Health, bringing the island’s total to 61. Civil Defense, however, on Saturday reported 59 cases. The reason for discrepancy was unclear, however, Mayor Harry Kim has previously stated the county receives its data directly from the department’s District Health officer.

State Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson again did not address risk to the public in Friday’s press conference, which he’s previously stated is low, despite concerns from the public about workers not wearing gloves and/or masks and repeated questions from media regarding the potential for exposure to patrons of the restaurants.

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Outside Hawaii Island, just four new cases were reported across the state on Saturday; two each on Oahu and Maui, according to the department. The 21 new cases bring the total number of cases across state to 574. Of those, 410 have recovered and been released from isolation.

Nine people have died since Feb. 28: six on Oahu and three on Maui.

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