A Japanese man who recently traveled to Maui and Oahu for 11 days has been diagnosed with the coronavirus at home in Japan, state officials said Friday.
He first arrived on Maui on Jan. 28 and later developed cold-like symptoms on Feb. 3 while on Oahu. The man sought medical help at a hospital in Japan after he returned, according to Hawaii Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson.
“It’s very likely he was exposed in Japan or when he was in transit coming here,” Anderson said.
The man was traveling with his wife and stayed at a timeshare of the Grand Waikikian by Hilton Grand Vacations in Waikiki after a spending a few days on Maui.
The state is working with Japanese officials to investigate his travel itinerary and follow up with people who interacted with him.
“We’re in contact with the Japanese government to find out where he was, who he might have had contact with and investigate all of the contacts so we can assure there is no virus here,” said Gov. David Ige.
State Epidemiologist Sarah Park said it is a good sign that the man did not develop a fever while in the islands.
“What should be reassuring is the person was asymptomatic on Maui and had no fever on Oahu,” she said. “That’s somewhat reassuring to us because we know if you have fever you are more likely to be infectious. We know the risk is for those who have prolonged face to face contact.”
NHK news in Japan reported Friday that the man is in his 60s and lives in Nagoya. He had a fever on Feb. 8, a day after he left Hawaii.
The coronavirus, now officially known as COVID-19, originated in China, where the virus has infected 63,851 people and killed more than 1,380.