Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Telephone Town Hall Discusses Shake Up at DOH
US Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted a tele-town hall meeting to update Hawai‘i residents about COVID-19. She was joined on Wednesday afternoon by Dr. DeWolfe Miller, an epidemiologist, and Dr. Scott Miscovich who has been at the forefront of testing efforts across the state since the start of the pandemic.
This was the twenty-first coronavirus-related virtual town hall Rep. Gabbard has hosted since the pandemic began to impact Hawaiʻi.
Just as the event was scheduled to begin, news broke that Dr. Emily Roberson, the Department of Health’s new investigations branch chief and head of the state’s contact tracing program, had requested a leave of absence until chain of command issues can be sorted out.
Rep. Gabbard had earlier called for the resignations of Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson and state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. Last week Dr. Anderson announced his planned retirement this month.
She noted her work in Congress with Hawai‘i’s Congressional delegation that led to the state receiving over $50 million in federal funding for testing and tracing efforts. She said, “it is absolutely unacceptable that this funding has not been used to develop a robust testing and contact tracing effort in our state.”
Rep. Gabbard and her guests took questions live from callers, and discussed testing, the current outbreak on Hawai‘i Island, the status of another federal COVID stimulus package, and what is necessary for the state to reopen.
She continued to emphasize the importance of testing and contact tracing to be able to identify where the virus hotspots are and how the disease is spreading.