Three Health Care Professionals Test Positive On Hawaii Island

Jul 17, 2020

Three Hawaii medical professionals have tested positive for COVID-19, including two hospital employees and a traveling doctor, officials said.

The Big Island medical workers included two Kona Community Hospital employees and a traveling doctor who worked briefly at Kau Hospital and Rural Health Clinic in Pahala.

Kau Hospital administrator Merilyn Harris said the doctor worked at the facility’s rural health clinic for two days and tested positive July 6 after feeling unwell.

The state Department of Health was notified and administrators began identifying people the doctor might have contacted, Harris said.

The physician saw 11 patients over two days at the clinic, but the doctor and patients wore masks. The patients were tested for coronavirus with negative results, Harris said.

The names of employees who had contact with the doctor also were reported to the health department and clinic employees were tested five days after potential exposure, with all tests negative, Harris said.

Kona Community Hospital spokeswoman Judy Donovan said the two employees who recently tested positive for the virus were quarantined at home. The hospital had one previous employee who tested positive, who is also quarantined.

The hospital planned to hold an onsite coronavirus testing clinic for all staff.

"We’re conducting testing on all employees because it the right thing to do. It is the best way to ensure the safety of our staff, our patients and our community,” acting CEO Jay Kreuzer said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.