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20 at Roselani Place test positive

Hospital outbreak grows to 31 patients, 35 staff

Roselani Place has reported its first confirmed cases of COVID-19, with eight residents and 12 staff testing positive as of Monday. The Maui News / COLLEEN UECHI photos

Eight residents and 12 staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at a senior independent and assisted living community that’s largely escaped the pandemic until now.

The outbreak at Roselani Place in Kahului that began with a resident in the memory support area and three staffers had grown to 20 on Monday after a round of testing over the weekend.

Karl Drucks of Paradigm Senior Living, the management company for Roselani Place, said that the first resident confirmed with the virus had been discharged from Maui Memorial Medical Center earlier this month. However, because of possible exposure from a family member, it was unclear where the resident had actually contracted the virus.

“We can neither confirm nor deny the resident obtained the virus from the hospital. At this point that would be an assumption and not provable fact,” Drucks said in an email Monday.

Drucks explained that the resident had been admitted to Maui Memorial on July 28 for other medical issues. The patient tested negative upon admission to the hospital and was tested again on Aug. 12 and Aug. 14, both with negative results. On Aug. 15, the patient was discharged to Roselani Place.

Roselani Place plans to test all of its 84 residents and 65 staff every two days after 20 people at the senior independent and assisted living community tested positive for COVID-19. The Maui News / COLLEEN UECHI photos

On Aug. 17, a nurse at Roselani Place was notified of possible exposure from the resident’s son; the nurse and the general manager immediately contacted the state epidemiologist. After the resident’s primary physician and family members were informed, the resident was immediately isolated in a private apartment at Roselani, with limited staff entry and recommendations to retest the resident every five to six days.

On Wednesday, Maui Memorial informed Roselani’s general manager that the resident may have been exposed as of Aug. 12.

Contact tracing and testing found that three of the staff who had interacted with the resident had caught the virus. Roselani arranged for testing of remaining staff Sunday.

Maui Health spokeswoman Tracy Dallarda said Monday that the patient who left Maui Memorial for Roselani did not have COVID while in the hospital and tested negative twice upon discharge, a requirement for placement at another care facility.

The hospital outbreak had grown from 26 patients and 21 workers on Thursday to 31 patients and 35 workers on Monday; the 66 cases have now outpaced the first cluster in April that reached 57 at one point. Dallarda said that no new cases were reported Monday and that Maui Memorial was currently caring for 25 positive patients.

Nearly 1,500 COVID-19 tests have been conducted on Maui Health workers since mass testing began Aug. 12.

“Maui Health continues to conduct mass testing and our team of physicians, nurses and other leaders are committed to doing all we can to prevent viral spread for the health and safety of our patients, employees, providers and our community,” Dallarda said in a statement.

Roselani Place, meanwhile, will be testing all residents and staff every two days until further notice. The facility currently has 114 total units, with 84 residents and 65 staff.

Roselani, which reported no cases over the first several months of the pandemic, put into place “strict protocols” at the start by increasing cleaning of high-touch surfaces; restricting entry to families, vendors and visitors; screening people upon entry; and limiting communal activities among residents, according to a news release.

With the recent cases, the facility will continue or begin taking the following steps:

• Placing the resident in isolation and giving the person dedicated staffing as much as possible.

• Restricting visitors and guests from entering the community.

• Requiring temperature checks, masks and a brief questionnaire each time staff enter the community.

• Asking employees who test positive in the future to self-isolate at home.

• Performing thorough daily sanitizing of all resident apartments and all common areas with high-touch surfaces.

• Testing residents as needed once current testing of all staff is complete.

• Repeating testing every two days thereafter until further notice.

Drucks said that new admissions must quarantine for 14 days and that residents undergo nurse assessment, a questionnaire and temperature check upon entry, including those who leave for vacation or to visit family. No visitors are currently allowed unless a family member is on hospice.

“If families would like to virtually see their loved one, we are equipped to help residents set up a Zoom meeting, or other video chat service that works for the family,” Drucks said. “We cannot wait for this virus situation to come to an end, so that we can all join up once again with a warm hug, gentle touch, good food and pleasant conversation.”

On Monday, the state Department of Health reported two more deaths on Oahu and 169 new cases statewide, including 150 on Oahu, 10 on Maui and nine on Hawaii island.

There have now been 6,769 cases, including 6,181 on Oahu, 300 in Maui County (including three on Molokai and none on Lanai), 209 on Hawaii island and 56 on Kauai. Twenty-three residents have been diagnosed out of state.

The additional deaths on Oahu — a man and a woman both over 80 years old with underlying medical conditions –bring the statewide total to 49, with 41 on Oahu, seven on Maui and one Kauai resident out of state.

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino has said that he would consider bringing back restrictions if daily cases reached double digits; as of Monday, the seven-day rolling average was 9.3, though cases per capita were at 5.55 per 100,000, compared to Oahu’s per capita rate of 20.73, Managing Director Sandy Baz said during a county news conference Monday.

“In talking with our medical experts, many of them have said that right now, where we’re at, stay the course, continue to work on the 14-day quarantine and continue to monitor those coming in from Oahu especially, which is a hot zone right now,” Victorino said. “Let’s see where we end up by midweek.”

He said that new restrictions would depend on where the surges have been; many recent cases have been tied to health care facilities.

“I don’t want to roll back our businesses if we don’t have to,” he said. “I don’t want to roll back or start canceling sporting events that I know they’ve worked real hard to (do) social distancing. Again, if they don’t physical distancing themselves, then we’ll consider it.”

He also announced that the county’s child care Youth Program has been extended through Sept. 25 to help first responders with young children and families who aren’t able to work at home.

The program is still $10 a week, and a YMCA membership is not required to sign up. Youth program sites are hosted at War Memorial Gym, South Maui Community Park Gym and Eddie Tam Gym.

To register, visit www.mauiymca.org/day-camps/. For more information, visit maui ymca.org or call 242-9007.

* Colleen Uechi can be reached at cuechi@mauinews.com.

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