The Molokai man who became the island’s first COVID-19 case had “more than 100” contacts with other individuals before he was hospitalized on Oahu last week, State Department of Health director Bruce Anderson said Monday.
During Gov. David Ige’s news conference, MauiTime asked Anderson about complaints from Rep. Lynn DeCoite that the state health department hadn’t yet arrived on Molokai to investigate the case, nor would discuss details with her. DeCoite said the case is of particular concern because of the Molokai man’s behavior after he returned from a trip to Las Vegas with his girlfriend. The man worked at Friendly Market Center, the island’s biggest grocery store, in Kaunakakai.
“He lied.” DeCoite told MauiTime Monday. “He lied to his boss. After telling him he had been in quarantine, there was a picture floating around of him partying in the middle of town.”
“I believe there were at least a hundred contacts,” Anderson said in response to the question. “He had a number of opportunities to come into contact with other individuals.” Anderson said he had heard from DeCoite Monday morning and said, “We are aggressively identifying contacts in this case and following up on those contacts.” He added, “On Molokai and other places, our resources are limited.”
Gov. Ige stepped in to say that he had been in touch with Mayor Michael Victorino, DeCoite and Sen. J. Kalani English “who are working to identify those close contacts who would need to be placed in isolation and quarantine.”
Although decontamination/sanitization crews went through Molokai stores over the weekend, DeCoite told MauiTime that she has been frustrated with the response of both county and state officials to the situation on Molokai. She said Gov. Ige asked her Sunday during a phone call if the island was okay and she told him, “No, not really. I have yet to find out what the Department of Health is doing. I don’t know where they are with their investigation.” She told MauiTime that there have been no DOH case investigators on island since the first COVID-19 case was announced five days ago.
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