(KITV) State, city leaders challenge Governor's actions to stop COVID-19

State, city leaders challenge Governor’s actions to stop COVID-19

(Source: KITV) They ask the Governor to do more than the 14-day quarantine, or to answer how that quarantine will be executed.Monday, March 23rd 2020, 5:27 AM HST by Diane Ako

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HONOLULU – Hawaii’s House and Senate on Sunday sent a letter to Governor David Y. Ige urging him to take stronger action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  The letter says the group is “extremely disappointed that you and your administration continue to fail to realize the gravity of the situation Hawaii faces and have not led our state with one decisive voice.”

The letter was signed by 68 lawmakers. There are 76 total in the legislature.

The letter challenges Gov. Ige’s March 21 call for quarantine of arriving persons entering the State, saying that action completely contradicts the Department of Health’s (DOH) statement (“There are residents of Hawaii who believe the COVID-19 positive cases here are all visitors to the state, and unfortunately, there is stigma developing against visitors in Hawaii. I am asking the media to help the public understand that of the 37 positive test results to date, 32 of them are the result of traveling residents. The majority of cases are residents who returned home after traveling.”)

The letter says all the early COVID-19 cases came from travel related circumstances and it is because of this unimpeded travel that community spread is occurring.

The group also complains quarantine should have been “instituted earlier and at this point in time, falls short of what is needed to comprehensively address this pandemic.”

It asks for a shelter-in-place directive upon all persons in Hawaii, which is something the administration on Sunday indicated it would probably announce early this week.

Legislators warn, though, that a stay-at-home policy would only be effective if coupled with an aggressive shelter-in-place protocol for all residents. “General Hara admitted at the March 21 press conference that a quarantining process will be difficult to enforce. General Hara’s statement further underscores the need for a directed shelter-in-place order for all residents in conjunction with quarantining of arriving passengers,” the letter continues.

Click here for full letter.

Senator Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) signed the aforemention letter and also sent a separate letter to Governor Ige on Sunday. “I am gravely alarmed by the section of the order that invokes a mandatory self-quarantine of all individuals entering the State of Hawaii set to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 26, 2020,” he writes. He lays out six detailed concerns about how the quarantine will be implemented; for example: What is the procedure for private and corporate jets? What are the specific enforcement procedures to ensure that the individuals in a mandatory self-quarantine actually comply with the order? What is the State and your administration doing working with the airline industry to ensure that flight crews are provided the minimum personal protective equipment (PPE?s) while they fly and perform their duties in confined spaces throughout the aircraft?

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