HONOLULU -- A Hawaii patient was being held in isolation in a Honolulu hospital Wednesday, and officials have not ruled out the possibility that the person may have contracted the Ebola virus, CBS Honolulu affiliate KGMB-TV reports.
A man who was checked into the hospital Wednesday morning was undergoing testing, state Health Department officials said. The patient had not yet been tested for the Ebola virus late Wednesday afternoon.
"We don't know why this person is ill," said Dr. Melissa Viray of the Department of Health. "But because we have concerns regarding Ebola as a possibility, even as a distant one, they are taking all the precautions that are necessary to keep people safe."
A statement issued by the hospital Wednesday evening said, "The Queen's Medical Center ... wants to underscore that at this time, the patient's history and clinical presentations do not appear to be consistent with Ebola and the patient may be diagnosed with a number of conditions other than Ebola. However, due to the heightened scope of awareness of Ebola, Queen's is taking extra precautionary measures to ensure the safety of patients, physicians, hospital staff, volunteers and visitors. This includes placing the patient in isolation."
Hospitals across the state have been briefed by the Department of Health about standing operating procedure in the event of a possible Ebola case, Viray said.
The Department of Health would not confirm whether the man had traveled to or from West Africa in recent weeks but said that Ebola was just one of several conditions the man was being or would be tested for.
On Tuesday, a man in Texas who had recently arrived in the U.S. from Liberia became the first person on American soil to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus. The man was sent home from a Dallas-area emergency room last week despite having told a hospital employee that he had recently traveled to the United States from West Africa.