Hawai‘i House Committee Plans Briefing on COVID-19

February 26, 2020, 5:15 PM HST · Updated February 26, 5:15 PM
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COVID-19 illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. PC: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM. Content provider: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS

State Representative John M. Mizuno will hold a Legislative Briefing on the COVID-19 illness in March. Rep. Mizuno Chairs the House Health Committee and also represents the Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley and Lower Kalihi area of Oʻahu.

Rep. Mizuno said because the COVID-19 illness is such a fluid situation, it is prudent to re-calibrate and focus on Hawaiʻi’s strategy to combat the virus and safeguard Hawaiʻi against the illness.

“To date the Department of Health has taken a new position moving forward from ‘containment’ to ‘mitigation’ because Hawaii will have cases of this illness. Moreover, the DOH is providing information to residents to prepare for an emergency, similar to a hurricane, to have a 14-day supply of food, water, first aid kit, flashlights and an extra supply of medications,” Rep. Mizuno said.

“There is an urgency to inform the public on the worldwide public health emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic. The State of Hawaiʻi is working with the federal government and its county partners to inform residents and reduce the risk the contracting the coronavirus. Enhanced screening, protective protocols, and coordinating a prudent health defense system between state and federal agencies will ensure the health and safety of our people.”

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“While no cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Hawaiʻi at this time, we do expect to eventually identify cases here because it is a global threat to our entire nation,” said Department of Health Deputy Director Danette Tomiyasu in a press release issued by Rep. Mizuno. “While an imminent threat to Hawaiʻi is low, our state, local and county agencies are intensifying our preparations, and we are asking the community to take steps now should the risk of community spread increase. We really are shifting from a containment posture to mitigation because we will likely see it in our community.”

The date, time and place of the informational briefing will be announced at a later date.

The informational briefing comes after the US declared a public health emergency in response to the coronavirus outbreak in China and the news that in addition to restricting flights from China to the United States, South Korea and many other countries may also be restricted from arriving to the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu.

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