On February 14, eTurboNews reported CoronaVirus had arrived in Honolulu. It arrived and left with a Japanese tourist staying in Waikiki who most likely brought the virus from Japan and took it back home. Hawaii Health authorities were unable at the time to detect any traces of the virus in Hawaii.
Three weeks later, today, March 7, Hawaii Governor David Ige confirmed the first case of Coronavirus on the island of Oahu after a person was treated at the Kaiser Permanente Clinic in Honolulu and found positive for COVID-19. After treatment, the hospital placed 2 staff members and a physician on in-home quarantine for the next 14 days.
According to initial reports, the patient did not have close contact with anyone after falling ill when back on Oahu and is “doing fine” in self-quarantine at home. “We don’t believe there has been any community spread (in Hawaii) at this time,” Gov. David Ige said at a news conference this afternoon. However, the Hawaii Health Department, which has only tested 8 people for COVID-19 in the islands, is planning broader community testing as early as next week.
The person traveled on the Grand Princess cruise ship voyage from San Francisco to Mexico from February 11 to 21, and flew back to Hawaii from Mexico.
After the Maui trip, the Grand Princess embarked on a voyage from San Francisco to Hawaii, with more than 50 passengers and crew members who had also been on the Mexico trip. The ship is now sitting off the coast of San Francisco with 21 confirmed cases of the virus, and has about 4 passengers from Hawaii, Health Director Bruce Anderson said.
Officials said the cruise ship made port calls at Nawiliwili, Kauai, on February 26; Honolulu on February 27; Lahaina on Maui on February 28; and Hilo on the Big Island on February 29.
With the first case of coronavirus, the Governor said Hawaii residents should “assess their situation.”
“Anyone that has kupuna [grandparents] they believe is at risk or has respiratory challenges, certainly we would encourage them to be smart about it,” he said. “Avoid large events with large crowds.”
Hawaii health officials are scrambling to find out who came into contact with the 21 people confirmed with the coronavirus after coming to the islands aboard the cruise ship last week.
The Grand Princess stopped at the 4 main Hawaiian islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island with more than 3,300 people on board – 2,200 passengers and 1,100 crew members, including 19 who have now tested positive.
More critical are air links vital to the travel and tourism industry that are cut or eliminated. Korea is now cut off, and flights between Hawaii and Japan are cut. This may be a good move to secure the critical Hawaii travel and tourism health in the long term, and not look at it from a short-sighted perspective by losing some business immediately.