Virus outbreak infects 21 residents of Honolulu nursing home

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii nursing home is trying to contain a COVID-19 outbreak involving…

Virus outbreak infects 21 residents of Honolulu nursing home

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii nursing home is trying to contain a COVID-19 outbreak involving 21 residents and six staff members, officials said.

The state Department of Health is investigating the cases at the Liliha Healthcare Center in Honolulu, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

An employee tested positive Sept. 16 and the home tested all residents and staff two days later. Positive results were reported Sept. 20.

“Upon identifying the first infection, our administration contacted DOH and is currently working with state officials to ensure the outbreak has been contained,” the center said in a statement.

The infected residents are isolated at the 92-bed nursing home, which is testing staff and residents every Friday and checking for symptoms twice daily.

Officials said 17 residents who tested negative were transferred to Wahiawa General Hospital for further testing and monitoring.

Liliha Healthcare Center said it is taking “precautionary measures” to contain the virus including routine sanitization, employee screenings and temperature and oxygen-level monitoring among residents.

The center offers 24-hour intermediate and skilled nursing care for short- and long-term patients, behavioral health, rehabilitation services and hospice care.

The facility is owned and operated by The New Family Health Inc., which also runs Nuuanu Hale, a 75-bed, long-term care facility.

At least 21 nursing homes reported coronavirus cases among staff or residents over the past 28 days including 15 homes in Honolulu, two on Maui and four on Hawaii island, the health department’s website said.

Last week a state-owned health care organization took over a veterans care home where 26 residents died of the coronavirus.

Utah-based Avalon Health Care relinquished control of Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo to Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

Avalon experienced additional outbreaks in June and August at its Hale Nani Rehabilitation and Nursing Center facility on Oahu, where 42 residents and 40 workers tested positive and five residents died of the virus.

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

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

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