Editor’s Note: Minutes after we published information provided by the State Department of Health that this patient was an employee at MMMC; Maui Health released the following clarifying information that this patient was a Maui Medical Group provider who saw patients at MMMC.
Maui Health today confirmed that a Maui Medical Group provider who provides care to patients at Maui Memorial Medical Center tested positive for COVID-19.
“At Maui Medical Group (MMG) we take the health of our providers seriously, said Cliff Alakai, Administrator. “We COVID test our hospital-based providers every two weeks and take appropriate protocols if any of those tests are positive. We are closely monitoring our provider and will do whatever is necessary to aid in healing.”
The provider was tested for COVID-19 two weeks ago by Maui Medical Group, was asymptomatic, and the results were negative. Unfortunately, this week the Maui Medical Group provider became symptomatic and then self-quarantined at home. On Friday, a repeat test was performed and yesterday, Sunday April 26, the results returned positive for COVID-19. The Hawaii Department of Health has been notified and both organizations are actively working with them.
“We are saddened by this news,” said Mike Rembis, CEO, Maui Health. “But we understand that the possibility of additional positive COVID-19 tests is the reality of this pandemic. We have quickly mobilized through our Emergency Operations Center and are implementing the necessary protocols to protect our employees and patients. This includes contact tracing, isolating and testing patients, working with any affected employees to test and self-quarantine, and quick and effective communication with all who may have been exposed.”
Through initial investigations this morning, it has been verified that the provider always wore appropriate PPE including N95 masks when appropriate for patient care at Maui Memorial Medical Center. Because of this protection, as well as increased safety measures that are in place at the hospital, including daily fever and symptom screening, masking at all times, and proper PPE usage, the exposure is likely to be deemed low risk.
“The current information we have is that this community provider, the staff, and patients were wearing appropriate masks, which puts this situation at a lower-risk exposure according to CDC guidelines,” said David Ulin, MD, Chief Medical Director of Maui Health. “Our Emergency Operations Center team is working with the Department of Health and following their recommendations on contact tracing and testing.”
The contact tracing team is actively identifying and contacting patients who may have been in contact with the provider so they can be tested as a precautionary measure. Additionally, the team is identifying employees who may have come in contact with the provider and will notify those employees within 24 hours to establish a plan to monitor and care for them, which will also include testing.
Maui Health has also implemented enhanced employee health services for all employees which includes screening and testing for any staff members who are experiencing any COVID-like symptoms. Additional benefits for potentially exposed employees who are asked to self-isolate or quarantine at home include paid leave, so those employees will not have to worry about the loss of income.
We thank the community for their support and patience as we focus on our patients and employees during this challenging time.
For more information and COVID-19 updates, please visit mauihealth.org/covid19.