HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A father and son who have tested positive for COVID-19 were ordered into quarantine at a facility on Tuesday after being detained at a strip mall in McCully.
The state Health Department relied on a rarely-used authority to detain the two.
The father, Nethcali J. Naisonet, told Hawaii News Now that they didn’t break quarantine out of a blatant disregard for the rules but that the family has been going through personal issues.
The teen was detained about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday after being spotted at McCully Shopping Center.
State Health Department Director Bruce Anderson said the teenager “refused to comply with the isolation order and was out with his friends and exposing lots of people.”
He called the situation “an imminent threat to public health.”
Shortly after the teen was taken into custody, Naisonet ― who is also positive for COVID-19 ― showed up at the shopping center. At that point, the father was also detained.
Anderson then signed an order forcing the two into a designated COVID-19 isolation facility.
The father of the teen said the family has been going through a rough time. He recently divorced his wife and his son has run away multiple times, despite being positive for COVID-19.
Naisonet said that’s why he showed up at the shopping center — to grab his son before any one else could get sick. “I don’t want to get nobody infected. If not, I wouldn’t do it,” he said.
“I just wanted to get my son off of the streets from the beginning. To come and do this to me is just like a slap in the face and I feel betrayed by the system right now.”
Naisonet said he felt the whole incident was made bigger than it needed to be.
“They make me feel like a criminal when the only thing I’m trying to do is get my son the help he needed,” Naisonet said, adding that he’s experiencing a fever and chills.
“I’m also dealing with this whole emotional roller coaster right now, too.”
Anderson said the order he signed to place them into isolation is based on a rarely-used authority he has to protect public health. “The last order I signed 20 years ago, had to deal with an individual with tuberculosis who was non-compliant and would not isolate,” he said.
After the order was complete, Emergency Medical Services personnel transported the father and son from the shopping center to the designated COVID-19 facility on Kaaahi Street.
HNN cameras spotted the ambulance surrounded by a dozen Honolulu police cars. The two were screened before being taken to a room.
Law enforcement will be posted outside their door at the facility, which was intended for homeless people who are positive or exposed to the virus.
The state’s order is good for 10 days. At that point, Anderson said, the two would be evaluated and possibly tested again to determine if they need to be isolated further.
If they do, DOH would need permission from the court.