Op-Ed: Councilmember Tamara Paltin Calls for More Transparency Amid Covid-19

April 11, 2020, 10:02 PM HST · Updated April 11, 10:02 PM
Tamara Paltin, Councilmember - County of Maui, West Maui · 7 Comments
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Op-ed Commentary
submitted by Councilmember Tamara Paltin
“Transparency is Key; Working Together to Save Lives”

We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and we are trying to save lives.  There are many aspects of this situation that we do not have control over, but we still need to work together in order to save lives.

Transparency is key!  People need to be able to trust leadership on all levels and in every arena, and leadership needs to be held accountable for the decisions they make.

Maui County is a tight knit community, and we need our hospital administration, the Chief Executive Officer – Michael Rembis, Chief Operations Officer – Debbie Walsh, Chief Nurse Executive – Gary Kienbaum and Director of Strategic Communications – Lisa Paulson to be accountable and straightforward with us, much more than they have been to date.  They need to be more forthcoming with the staff and public on plans and procedures.

This means informing hospital workers who have been in contact with infected patients and/or colleagues as soon as that information is known so that they don’t infect their families and/or the greater community.  It means letting the public and patients know that there really are not enough medical grade N95 PPE available and how those PPE are being distributed.  It means being accountable for the PPE that have been donated.  It means letting the public know that the plan for PPE (that are not heavily soiled) is to be sterilized for re-use and not keeping this information confidential – everyone deserves to know where we are currently and locally as far as this pandemic goes.

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This is a stressful time for us all and, while I support the lockdown, checkpoints need to be done with compassion and with no physical contact to minimize the spread. It is uncomfortable.  Our rights are being restricted, but this is all being done in an effort to save more lives.  We DO NOT have a handle on the situation.  So much so that people are unknowingly spreading the virus when they are asymptomatic.  That is what will make this last longer and cause more deaths.  We DO NOT have the capacity for a severe surge, and our healthcare workers have already been impacted.  Please take this seriously.

We need to follow the examples of the places in the world where they have successfully stopped the spread.  The CDC guidelines have led to the current situation in the United States, which has more infected people than any other country in the world.  Please do not take this to mean do not question authority, we are all human and make mistakes.  Question authority, have civil dialogue, talk it out, ask for explanations but at the end of the day, err on the side of caution, protect yourself, your staff and your loved ones.  This is a temporary situation, and we will get through this by pulling together, supporting one another, and by supporting transparency in all aspects of this pandemic.

*****Views expressed in Op-Ed pieces are those of the author’s alone and do not reflect or represent the opinions, policies or positions of Maui Now.***** 

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