COVID-free county: Kalawao County, Hawaii is the last place in US with 0 reported coronavirus cases – Fresno, California

Fresno, California 2020-11-21 15:15:41 –

In the 1800s, a newly formed settlement in Kalawao County, Hawaii, forced thousands of infectious disease patients to be isolated from the outside world. Today, Kalawao is the last county in the United States with no recorded cases of coronavirus.

Call it poetic justice.

In mid-May, no cases of COVID-19 were reported in 231 of the 3,143 counties nationwide. By mid-October, only six US counties reported being COVID-free. New outbreaks surged across the continental United States this week, reaching 160,000 per day nationwide, 16,841 in Hawaii and 25,369 in Alaska, with only Kalawao not yet reporting one. ..

In 1865, 155 years ago, the Kingdom of Hawaii passed a law that forced patients with leprosy (also known as leprosy) into isolated settlements on Molokai, Hawaii. Located on the peninsula, the Kalaupapa settlement is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on three sides, and 1,600 feet of towering sea cliffs block access to other parts of the island.

In 1969, Hawaii abolished the quarantine law that imprisoned Kalaupapa patients, promising lifelong medical care, social welfare, and the option of staying in settlements if desired. Of the 8,000 patients who came to Kalaupapa during 100 years of surgery, only 12 remain, according to Dr. Glen Wasserman, head of infectious diseases at the State Department of Health.

Today, the 75 remote community on Hawaii’s most inaccessible island is the only place in the United States free of COVID-19 invasion.

“Thank you for the good news!” Wasserman said when he was contacted by phone on Thursday.

Still, Wasserman warned against reading the statistics too deeply. Kalawao County is considered by the Department of Health and Human Services to be a “poor area of ​​medical services.” This is a designated use in areas where there are too few primary care physicians for the population or where the elderly are concentrated.

From April: Living in an area where no cases of coronavirus have been confirmed

Like many geographically isolated communities, Kalawao has not done many COVID-19 tests. Wasserman ordered several COVID-19 tests after learning that the individual had interacted with the outside community. Everything went back to negative.

With an average age of 86 years and many medical conditions, the patients left in Kalaupapa are very vulnerable to COVID-19, so the settlement has set strict policies to protect them. Patients and staff are not allowed to visit and if they leave the settlement and return, they will need to be quarantined. Staff temperature is monitored and social distance and masks are worn.

“I found this approach to be much more reliable than testing everyone who came in in the lab,” Wasserman said to ensure that no one was infected with COVID-19. He emphasized that asymptomatic individuals could return to their settlements and be quarantined if they were not tested. Spread the infection.

Strict rules have never been easier for patients and staff. A patient who flew to Oahu to meet a medical professional before the pandemic postponed treatment. Some staff living outside Kalaupapa chose not to leave the village. That means I haven’t seen my family, explained Baron Chan, the head of the leprosy branch of the Department of Health.

And the story of the Kalaupapa settlement went through. “When they were sent to Kalaupapa, the patients were taken from their family and friends and they were experiencing loneliness,” Chan said. “You are now watching it all over the world.”

According to Wasserman, it was a daunting task, but the diligence and sacrifice of communities, health departments and park services has hindered the expansion of the community in the village.

“Their sacrifices are part of Kalaupapa’s ongoing legacy. We have achieved what we were trying to do, and we need to do it until the end of the pandemic,” he added. ..

“Today is a wonderful day.”

Copyright © 2020 ABCNews Internet Ventures.

COVID-free county: Kalawao County, Hawaii is the last place in US with 0 reported coronavirus cases Source link COVID-free county: Kalawao County, Hawaii is the last place in US with 0 reported coronavirus cases

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