Man who visited state has coronavirus

HONOLULU — The state Department of Health was notified Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that an adult male who traveled to Maui from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 and to O‘ahu from Feb. 3 to 7 has been confirmed for the coronavirus, COVID-19.

The individual is a Japanese national who developed severe symptoms, sought medical care, and was diagnosed and tested after leaving Hawai‘i and returning home to Japan.

The DOH was informed that the individual had no symptoms while traveling on Maui and developed cold-like symptoms with no fever while staying on O‘ahu.

The department has begun an investigation and is working closely with state, federal and county officials. A medical advisory was sent out Friday to alert the healthcare community in Hawai‘i to be vigilant about possible cases.

“The Department of Health has been expecting and preparing for identifying a travel-related case in Hawai‘i because of the widespread outbreak in China and other areas of the world,” said Bruce Anderson, DOH director.

”The state is more than ready with aggressive control and prevention measures as we work closely with our medical community and response partners,” he said.

“We are committed to keeping the public fully informed and will continue to provide updates as this situation unfolds.”

“The individual had no symptoms while on Maui and was not contagious,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist.

“There is no increased risk on Maui from possible exposure. On O‘ahu, the individual had cold-like symptoms with no fever. I have alerted physicians that it’s possible that cases may surface sometime before Feb. 21 because the onset of illness is generally within 14 days.”

While traveling on O‘ahu, the individual stayed with his wife at a timeshare at the Grand Wakikian by Hilton Grand Vacations. The individual did not seek medical care in Hawai‘i and may have worn a mask during parts of his travel.

The DOH was informed that the individual wore a mask during his flight back to Japan. Using a mask when ill can protect others from becoming infected.

The DOH is committed to sharing information as it becomes available.

People are urged to not spread misinformation or inaccurate statements that are not confirmed, and keep updated and informed on the situation. Everyone can help prevent the spread of respiratory illness with these everyday actions:

• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick;

• Stay home when you are sick;

• Cover coughs and sneezes tissues, then throw the tissues in the trash;

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe;

• Get a flu shot.

With current seasonal influenza activity, it is likely there will be confusion, as persons with influenza will exhibit similar signs and symptoms, such as fever and cough.

The DOH strongly recommends residents 6 months and older protect themselves against flu by receiving the seasonal influenza vaccination.

For information on the 2019-nCoV outbreak, including information for clinicians and public health professionals, visit the following websites:

• health.hawaii.gov/docd/advisories/novel-coronavirus-2019/

• cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

• wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/novel-coronavirus-china

• hidot.hawaii.gov/coronavirus/

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