(BIVN) – The first case of COVID-19 has been identified in Hawaiʻi, while more people have tested positive for the virus aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship.
On Friday, March 6, the Hawaiʻi Department Of Health reported that the first COVID-19 patient in Hawaiʻi is a local resident and was likely exposed while aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship.
“There is no evidence of community spread at this time, but the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) is working to determine if the patient had any close contact with anyone while they were ill,” the health department said. “Initial investigations indicate that there were no such contacts.”
Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense provided this update from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention on the status of the Grand Princess cruise ship which visited the Port of Hilo on February 29th:
CDC reports that some passengers and crew on the Grand Princess have tested positive for Coronavirus. To date, only the persons who exhibited symptoms were tested. The CDC intends to test all the passengers and crew before they are allowed to disembark. The ship is currently near San Francisco
Authorities are reviewing the itineraries of the passengers while they were in Hilo. It is not known at this time to what degree, if any, this may affect Hawaii’s people. We will provide you with updates as soon as they are available.
Princess Cruise Lines provided this update on the Grand Princess situation:
Princess Cruises can confirm that the results from the first phase of health screenings of 45 guests and crew onboard Grand Princess were completed. We were notified by Vice President Pence while he was conducting a press conference and simultaneously by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control (CDC) speaking to our shipboard doctor that among the samples tested, 21 people have tested positive for COVID-19 which includes two (2) guests and 19 crew.
The ship’s doctor is in the process of informing the guests and crew of their individual results. All guests and affected crew will remain isolated in their rooms.
We are awaiting official specific plans for future positioning of the ship from relevant authorities. Princess Cruises will continue to closely follow the guidance of the CDC and other federal and state government authorities.
Guests will continue to be provided complimentary internet and telephone to stay in contact with their families and loved ones, and the ship’s company is working to keep all guests comfortable.
The ship has quickly transitioned food & beverage service to provide Room Service for all staterooms.
We are working with CDC to determine what additional precautionary measures, if any, will be required.
Princess Cruises medical team is collecting information from guests regarding any medication prescription refills needs.
Princess Cruises can confirm there are 3,533 people currently onboard Grand Princess, including 2,422 guests and 1,111 teammates. In total, they represent 54 nationalities.
As of March 6, there have been 164 total cases detected in 19 states through US public health surveillance systems, health officials said. “This represents an increase of 65 cases and 6 new states from the previous day,” the state reported. “For all detected cases to-date, 36 were travel-related, 18 were person-to-person spread, and 110 are still under investigation. An additional 49 cases have been identified among persons repatriated (brought back to the US from abroad) by the US government from Wuhan, China or the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship. There have been 11 total deaths.”
Any passengers having travel history to areas with widespread sustained community transmission are being asked to stay home and monitor their health for 14 days from the time they left the affected area.
Officials residents can help by:
- Remembering to practice cough and sneeze etiquette by maintaining distance and covering coughs and sneezes.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water or with hand sanitizer.
- If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with other people.