Hawaii may be the next U.S. state to see infections of the new coronavirus pop up as the state's Department of Health has revealed that a visitor to the state has come down with the disease caused by the potentially deadly pathogen.
The tourist destination's health department was told on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that an adult male who traveled to Maui from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 and to Oahu from Feb. 3-7 was confirmed to have COVID-19.
It was also later reported that the Japanese man's spouse also has the virus.
The man later developed severe symptoms and sought medical care after returning home to Japan, but while in Oahu he had already "developed cold-like symptoms with no fever."
It's widely believed that the incubation period for the disease is at least two weeks, with some anecdotal evidence it could be up to 24 days. Doctors also believe it's possible people are likely infectious before showing symptoms.
“The Department of Health has been expecting and preparing for identifying a travel-related case in Hawaii because of the widespread outbreak in China and other areas of the world. The state is more than ready with aggressive control and prevention measures as we work closely with our medical community and response partners,” said the state's health director Bruce Anderson in a statement. “We are committed to keeping the public fully informed and will continue to provide updates as this situation unfolds.”
“The individual had no symptoms while on Maui and was not contagious,” added Dr. Sarah Park, the state's epidemiologist, in a statement. “There is no increased risk on Maui from possible exposure. On Oahu, the individual had cold-like symptoms with no fever. I have alerted physicians that it’s possible that cases may surface sometime before Feb. 21 because the onset of illness is generally within 14 days.”