(BIVN) – The report of an O‘ahu adult who this week became the first person in Hawaiʻi to die from COVID-19 was erroneous, state health officials said Tuesday evening.
The Hawaiʻi health department began walking back the report during a press conference held on Tuesday. The department informed the media that they would retest and report the results. This media release was issued later that evening, following the press conference:
Internal communication of a COVID-19 test at the Dept. of Health resulted in a report being misread and initiated a retest of samples today from an O‘ahu adult, who died on March 20th. This evening the second test came back negative for COVID-19.
DOH Director Dr. Bruce Anderson says our focus was to get information out in a timely manner. This is an unprecedented situation and we’re still developing best practices. Anderson said, “I accept all responsibility for not verifying reporting procedures. We’re immediately instituting measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again. My condolences to the family and friends of the person who passed away and our apologies for any undue anxiety this caused.”
Swabs from the person were submitted to the state laboratories two days after the person died. They’d originally been tested by a private clinical laboratory with inconclusive results.