An adult resident of Molokai’s Kalawao County has been diagnosed with COVID-19, state health officials said Thursday.

The person, who is self-isolating now at the Kalaupapa settlement, tested positive for the disease after flying on a local flight but has not yet shown symptoms.

People who were on the same flight are quarantining and close contacts of the person have been notified, Department of Health officials said.

“Everyone here recognizes the importance of the 14-day quarantine protocol to assist in protecting themselves, friends, family, and the broader Kalaupapa community,” said Ken Seamon, DOH administrator of Kalaupapa Settlement, in a statement. “The individual who tested positive did the right thing in notifying us of the positive test result. We believe we can contain the virus here without a stay-at-home order for the entire settlement.”

A historic home in Kalaupapa. Kalawao County was reportedly the last county in the U.S. to report a COVID-19 case. Courtesy: Edith Loke Alameida/2011

Kalawao was reportedly the last county within the country that had yet to report a COVID-19 case.

The isolated peninsula on Molokai’s north coast has historic ties to another epidemic. In the late 1800s, hundreds of Hansen’s Disease patients were sent to live in isolation at the Kalaupapa settlement to prevent the spread of leprosy, which was incurable at the time.

In 1969, when forced quarantine laws were abolished, former patients who chose to stay were guaranteed state support. The settlement, home to approximately 120 people, remains under Department of Health management.

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