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Maui Memorial Medical Center to halt most visits as COVID-19 cases rise

The Maui News

With COVID-19 cases in Maui County on the rise, Maui Memorial Medical Center announced that it will no longer allow visitors, with some exceptions, starting Saturday.

“The Emergency Operations Center team of Maui Health have been closely monitoring the increase in COVID-19 positives within Maui County and the state,” Maui Health said in a statement Thursday. “It is evident that COVID-19 and its variants are actively spreading.”

Hawaii has gone from averaging 88.6 new cases a day on July 14 to 185 new daily cases as of Tuesday, an increase of 109 percent, according to the state Department of Health. All counties except Kauai have seen average daily cases spike, with Maui County going from 9.1 new cases a day on July 14 to 17 as of Tuesday, a 91 percent increase. The county also had a test positivity rate of 3.1 percent.

Maui Memorial was caring for 18 COVID-positive patients as of Thursday morning, up from 15 a week ago. Three patients were in the intensive care unit, and two of them were on ventilators, according to Maui Health spokeswoman Tracy Dallarda.

When asked if any staff have tested positive in the past two weeks, Dallarda said, “we won’t be sharing any employee specific info for privacy reasons.” She added that no hospital units have been shut down.

The rise in cases on Maui mirrors the rest of the country, which has seen cases trending upward as it battles the more serious and contagious Delta variant. Maui Health pointed out that random sampling of positive tests from Maui showed no trace of the Delta variant in early June but shot up to 33 percent of positive tests samples just a month later.

Saying that the “pace of increased community spread is all too familiar to Maui Health,” hospital officials decided that starting Saturday, no visitors will be allowed entry, with exceptions for:

• One support person for obstetrics patients.

• One support person for patients with disabilities.

• One parent or guardian of pediatric patients.

• Up to two visitors per patient for end-of-life situations, comfort care and/or significant changes in condition.

“This was a difficult decision as we understand the important role that loved ones provide in the health and well-being of our patients, but also recognize the need to reduce the potential introduction of the virus into the hospital,” Maui Health said. “We are hopeful this restricted policy can be lifted soon, and we will continue to closely monitor the Maui County and state positivity rates for signs of reduced viral spread. In the interim, patients can connect with their loved ones virtually and our caregivers will help coordinate the use of a device if they do not have access to one.”

On Monday, Maui Memorial began requiring visitors to be fully vaccinated before entering the facility, with exceptions for pediatric and obstetrics patients as well as for those with disabilities or those visiting patients in end-of-life situations.

The hospital continues to offer a vaccine clinic in its main lobby from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Fridays. Walk-ins are welcome. For more information, visit mauihealth.org/covidvaccine.

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