Two on Big Island dead from COVID — 18 in hospital

Hilo Medical Center has announced that two people have died from COVID-19.   Both of the men were residents at the Yukio Otsuku State Veterans Home, and when they became ill with COVID-19, they were admitted to the hospital.  The HMC Public Information Officer, Elena Cabatu, said both men had significant underlying health issues.  She and the entire staff offered condolences to the families and loved ones of these veterans who served our country.  One death was noted in this morning’s Hawaii County Civil Defense update, but neither was  in the State Department of Health’s noon update.

A total of 27 residents (including the two deceased)  and 10 staff at the Yukio Otsuku State Veterans Home have tested positive for COVID-19.   Six of the residents are now hospitalized and 19 are being cared for at the Veterans Home in a separate COVID-19 area.   The Veterans Home is doing all they can to protect the residents

As of Sunday at 2 p.m., 18 COVID-19 positive patients are in Hilo Medical Center, with 3 in the Intensive Care Unit and 5 in the COVID Unit.  All are separated from other hospital patients.

One employee in the hospital’s Behavioral Health Unit tested positive for COVID-19 late last week, and on Friday, Aug. 28, all of the patients and staff in that area were tested.  All tests were negative.

Mayor Harry Kim has said most of the spread of the virus in East Hawaii is a result of large memorial gatherings where COVID-19 precautions were not followed.  Anybody who was at the gatherings or has been in contact with those who were are urged to isolate, away from others, and to get tested to confirm if they were also exposed.  There is no shame in having the virus, but everybody can work to try to stop its spread.

The island has, as of noon, 164 known active cases of COVID-19, and a total of two deaths, the first the island has experienced during this pandemic.