UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: Resident with COVID-19 was aboard Flight HA21
The resident who fell ill in Washington state and came home to Hawaii where he tested positive for COVID-19 was aboard Hawaiian Airlines Flight HA21 from Seattle to Honolulu on March 4, state Department of Health spokeswoman Janice Okubo said as of 10:25 p.m. Sunday.
Health officials had said during a news conference earlier in the day that they were waiting for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the man’s airline and flight number.
The elderly Oahu man became the second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in the state. He had gotten sick on March 2 while in Washington state — where most of the fatalities in the U.S. are being reported — and returned to Honolulu on Wednesday, Gov. David Ige said during the news conference. Director of Health Dr. Bruce Anderson said that the man went to a Kaiser urgent care facility after returning to Hawaii on Wednesday, then went home “and presumably was at home throughout the next few days until the ambulance was called” on Saturday. He was taken to the hospital where he was in isolation and in serious condition as of Sunday night.
A physician who knew of his travel history to Washington suggested that COVID-19 might be the cause of his illness, Anderson said. A test was ordered and the results came back Sunday.
When asked whether the elderly man posed a greater risk than the first reported patient because he had been symptomatic before leaving Washington state, Anderson said “that’s reasonably accurate.” State epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said that the department and the CDC would specifically be looking for people seated in the same row or at least two rows in front or back, to be conservative. Health officials will be working to trace who the man might have had close contact with, both on the plane and in Hawaii, and whether the type of interactions they shared may have put them at risk.
However, Gov. David Ige emphasized Sunday that there is still no evidence of “community spread” of the virus in Hawaii and that the two patients who tested positive had gotten sick after traveling outside of the state.
On Friday, the state announced its first case of COVID-19, a Hawaii resident who had traveled back to Oahu from Mexico, where they had disembarked the Grand Princess cruise ship that later turned out to have at least 21 cases of COVID-19.
The ship had stopped in four Hawaii ports, including Lahaina on Feb. 28. Health officials said Friday that they had a manifest of the passengers who disembarked, and that they were working to find out their activities and whom they may have had close contact with.
Both tests for the Hawaii residents are being sent to the CDC for additional confirmation. Anderson said confirmation of the first test had not yet come back from the CDC as of Sunday afternoon.