HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – A visitor who exhibited “cold-like symptoms” while in the islands earlier this month was diagnosed with coronavirus after returning to Japan, officials confirmed.
In a news conference Friday, state health officials said:
- The adult male traveler did not have any symptoms while visiting Maui from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3.
- But he did begin to exhibit “cold-like symptoms” while on Oahu from Feb. 3 to Feb. 7.
- While on Oahu, he stayed at the Grand Waikikian by Hilton Grand Vacations. The state is still seeking more details on his exact itinerary, including which flights he was on.
- He was diagnosed with the virus on Feb. 8, after returning to Japan. Japanese news reports say that he had a fever of about 102 degrees.
The governor and state Health Department sought to reassure the public about the risk and stressed that the state’s health care facilities are equipped to handle additional cases if they arise.
State Health Director Bruce Anderson said it’s likely the visitor was exposed before he left for Hawaii or while on his way here.
They also said Hawaii residents can take precautions now to reduce their chances of contracting the coronavirus ― and the seasonal flu.
Those precautions include washing your hands and staying home when you’re sick.
Gov. David Ige said the scenario involving a visitor falling ill “is exactly what we’ve been preparing for.”
“I have every confidence that all of our partners … are fully aware and we do have systems and protocols in place,” he said. “We are taking the necessary actions that we need to.”
Anderson said the Japanese visitor traveled to the islands with his wife. It’s not yet clear if she’s been tested or exhibiting any symptoms.
State officials said they’re working to track down who else might have had close contact with the man ― and determine whether any are showing signs of illness.
They don’t believe that people who had casual contact with him or with things that he came in contact with, including items in his hotel room, would be at high risk of contracting the disease.
Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist, added the patient was wearing a mask while traveling.
She said that news ― and the fact that he didn’t have a fever in Hawaii ― is good news because it means the likelihood that the visitor passed the coronavirus onto others is lower.
The Mainichi newspaper reports the man is in his 60s, and had not recently traveled to China.
So far, there have no patients diagnosed with coronavirus in Hawaii.
One Hawaii resident who returned from Hubei province in China remains in quarantine at Pearl Harbor while dozens of others who have recently traveled elsewhere in mainland China are being monitored by the state Health Department. None of those people have exhibited symptoms of the disease.
This story will be updated.
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