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City park staff member tests positive for COVID-19

WAIPAHŪ -- Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) wish to inform the community that a park staff member has tested positive for COVID-19.

The positive test result was reported this weekend for a member of our DPR staff working at Hō‘ae‘ae Community Park in the Village Park neighborhood of Waipahū.

That park is a Summer Fun site. This particular staff member had minimal contact with Summer Fun participants and was wearing proper protective gear during the Summer Fun Program, including facial covering and gloves. This staff member did not display symptoms of COVID-19 while at the park, and is currently isolating at home.

DPR has safety protocols in place to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 at Summer Fun, including: daily temperature checks, access and frequent use of hand sanitizers, physical distancing when possible, wearing of facial coverings, and removal of staff or participants displaying symptoms of COVID-19. These protocols were followed in this incident and will continue to be followed.

Based on evaluation by the City's infection control officer, this Summer Fun site will continue normal operations on Monday, July 6.

48 keiki and five staff were present at this community park for the first two days of the month-long Summer Fun program prior to the positive test result. DPR's modified Summer Fun Program began operating on July 1 and was closed on July 3 in observance of the Independence Day Holiday.

"It is unfortunate that one of our City staff has contracted COVID-19 and most importantly we wish them a safe and speedy recovery," said Mayor Caldwell. "This employee exhibited excellent judgment both in their regular use of personal protective equipment and the expedient manner in which notifications were made to supervisors and those contacted in the last few days. This is a prime example of how important it is for everyone to wear their facial coverings, and how this simple act is one of the easiest and most important things we can all do to help slow the spread of COVID-19. All park staff, keiki, and family members will be offered a free COVID-19 test at any of our Community Health Centers, if their health insurance does not cover the cost of the test."

The parents of the Hō‘ae‘ae Summer Fun participants and park staff have been notified of the positive test result. Officials from the State Department of Health will conduct their necessary investigation into this incident.

"In this situation, the staff person followed safe practices and acted quickly and responsibly to ensure the safety of the keiki," said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist. "We need everyone to follow this example and wear a mask at work and whenever outside their home."

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