Hawaii Legislator Believes He Contracted COVID-19 During Las Vegas Trip

Posted on: March 21, 2020, 06:10h. 

Last updated on: March 22, 2020, 09:44h.

A winter break to Las Vegas likely led to an elderly Hawaiian state senator getting coronavirus. As a result, the entire Hawaii state capitol building got shut down for a couple of weeks.

Hawaii State Sen. Clarence Nishihara suspects he contracted coronavirus while on a visit to Las Vegas. The Hawaii state capitol building was shuttered because of his illness. (Image: Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

Clarence Nishihara, 76, remains quarantined in his residence on the island of Oahu. Wary of transmission to politicians and state workers, the capitol was shuttered at least through April 5. The legislature has stopped meeting for an indefinite period, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

While in Las Vegas between Feb. 22 and 25, Nishihara tried his luck at slot machines at two Boyd Gaming properties: Main Street Station Casino and California Hotel & Casino.

“My luck was really bad. It kind of sucked over there,” Nishihara told the Star-Advertiser. “I was wishing I hadn’t gone.”

Shortly after Nishihara returned from Nevada, it felt like he had a cold. He started to feel better during the first week in March, so he went to work at the state capitol, Hawaii News Now reported.

On March 12, he got a test for coronavirus after he became ill again. The test was positive, and he immediately notified colleagues in the legislature.

I guess I’ll be blamed for shutting down the whole Legislature now,” Nishihara told the Star-Advertiser.

Until a two-week period of self-quarantine is over, he is isolating himself in a bedroom.

There is no TV in the room, but he does have books to read and a laptop computer. Friends call him on the phone.

Feels Like a Prisoner

His wife advised him to “stay in the room. I feel like I’m in prison now,” Nishihara told the Star-Advertiser. It appears he did not require hospitalization.

Hawaii state employees who work in the capitol building and who have symptoms associated with coronavirus are getting tested. Because of the forced break, legislators will probably have to attend the session at least until May, Nishihara said.

Recently, he had no fever, nor many other symptoms linked to the viral outbreak. As of Friday, Hawaii had 37 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including Nishihara.

Other Casino Visitors Contract COVID-19

Nishihara was not the only player or guest in gaming properties who contracted coronavirus. Also, casino employees have tested positive for the virus.

An unnamed woman who was a guest at The Mirage tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks. She is in her 40s and is from New York.

She was hospitalized on March 8. Having arrived in Las Vegas on March 5, she was attending the Women of Power Summit at The Mirage, which ran through March 8.

In Boston, Utah Jazz basketball star Donovan Mitchell went to the Encore Boston Harbor on March 5, where he played in the high limit area of the gaming floor for about an hour, the Boston Globe reported. He later tested positive for coronavirus.

Now, the casinos in Las Vegas and Massachusetts are closed. Earlier this week, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued an order which shuttered 440 licensed casinos statewide.

Before the order, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts closed their Las Vegas gaming properties. The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas was also closed.