Updated: 2/15/20, 7:30 a.m.
Hawaiian Airlines says it is reaching out to passengers and crew members after a Japanese tourist who came down with symptoms of coronavirus while visiting Hawaii took a flight earlier this month to Maui.
The man visited both Maui and Oahu. He did not have symptoms while he was on Maui Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 but developed cold-like symptoms with no fever on Oahu starting on Feb. 3, state heath officials said Friday. The visitor remained on Oahu to Feb. 7.
Based on these dates, Japan and state officials think the man was infected while in Japan or in transit to Hawaii. Experts believe the virus incubation period runs between 2 and 14 days.
Health Director Bruce Anderson says officials believe that someone who doesn’t have symptoms probably cannot transmit coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
While on Oahu, the tourist stayed at the Hilton Grand Waikikian. It’s not clear where he stayed on Maui. Officials are looking for those who had face-to-face contact with the man.
In a statement, Hawaiian Airlines confirmed that the Japanese tourist flew from Maui to Oahu on flight number HA265 on Feb. 3.
“We extend our sincere wishes for this gentlemen’s full recovery and are cooperating with public health agencies to support notification of passengers as they determine is necessary,” said a Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson. “We are also in the process of reaching out to crew and agents who supported this particular flight to make sure that they are healthy and supported.”
It is still unclear which airline the Japanese tourist flew to and from Japan, but it was not Hawaiian Airlines.
Gov. David Ige announced he is flying to Japan Saturday to promote Hawaii tourism and seek pre-clearance for flights from Japan to the U.S. About 1.5 million Japanese tourists visit Hawaii and spend $2.5 billion a year, the governor's office said in a release.
While in Japan, Ige also plans to update "key stakeholders" of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the status of the stalled project planned on Mauna Kea. Lt. Gov. Josh Green will serve as acting governor until Ige's scheduled Feb. 18 return.
Meanwhile, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino issued a statement Friday in an effort to tamp down worries among island residents. State health officials say Maui is at low risk for contracting the virus, the mayor said.
“I understand the public concern regarding coronavirus, and I would like to assure residents that we are working diligently with the state Department of Health and federal partners to ensure the safety and health of our community,” said Mayor Victorino.
In a related development, coronavirus test kits sent to Hawaii this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not work so new kits will be sent next week.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.