Kona Community Hospital reports first inpatient case of COVID-19

  • Kona Community Hospital. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Kona Community Hospital announced Thursday morning its first inpatient case of COVID-19.

The patient tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, according to a statement provided by KCH spokeswoman Judy Donovan. The patient, a resident, has no history of travel.

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The adult, who is in stable condition, is the first COVID-19 patient to be admitted to the Kealakekua hospital.

“Kona Community Hospital has been actively preparing with our federal, state, and county partners to respond to a confirmed novel coronavirus case since February,” said Infection Prevention and Employee Health director Lisa Downing, RN, in a statement. “Our top priority is maintaining the health and safety of our staff and patients.”

The state Department of Health’s on-call virologist was consulted and is supporting the hospital’s care management of this patient that includes precautions to protect patients and staff, Donovan said.

According to the statement, the hospital’s house supervisor, emergency department and medical unit leadership and staff were all briefed upon notification of the positive test. All precautions were reviewed with the infection prevention director and the incident command team leader.

The hospital is currently following its emergency plans, which include minimizing the number of employees who enter the patient’s room; following precautions defined by CDC that include standard, contact, airborne and eye protection; and isolating the patient.

The hospital’s House Supervisor, Emergency Department and Medical Unit leadership and staff were all briefed upon notification of the positive test. All precautions were reviewed with the infection prevention director and the incident command team leader.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health announced Thursday afternoon one new case of COVID-19 on Hawaii Island, bringing Hawaii County’s total to 68. Of those cases, 39 have been cleared and released from isolation.

Including the admission announced Thursday, two Hawaii County individuals have been hospitalized. The first was a worker at McDonald’s in Kona who tested positive and was transported earlier this month to Oahu for treatment, according to state Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson, who has stated repeatedly the case will be included in Hawaii County’s tally.

The new Big Island case was among four new positive cases announced statewide on Thursday. One case was on Oahu and two were on Maui. All are adult residents.

Hawaii has now recorded 596 cases of COVID-19 since Feb. 28. Six of those cases were Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

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To date, more than 26,600 people have been tested by private and state laboratories for the novel coronavirus.

No new COVID-19-related deaths were reported Thursday. The statewide death toll remained at 12.

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