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Friday, March 20, 2020
COVID Committee Meets in Secret: Harbors Div Closes Hawaii to Cruise Ships, Airports Div Next
By News Release @ 2:54 PM :: 1417 Views :: Health Care, Military, Tourism

As Public Clamors For Information, Senate Panel On COVID-19 Goes Dark

CB: … A panel of senators on Thursday heard plans for airports to begin putting passengers in quarantine after they arrive in Hawaii, a decision that could cost the state $1 million a month.

The meeting with transportation officials and others arose out of the state Senate’s frustration with the Ige administration’s apparent slow work to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Briefings like these where lawmakers question state officials and the public gets a peek inside the workings of government are usually open to the public or at least accessible online.

The problem on Thursday? The public couldn’t watch.

And on Friday Senate leaders wouldn’t say why they conducted a meeting on important public policy outside the public eye….

The meeting was supposed to air live on Olelo Channel 55. When the clock hit 1 p.m., the scheduled start time, a Spanish-language church program started playing instead.

The results of the meeting eventually came through a Senate press release — nearly six hours later. There’s been no clear explanation for what exactly happened to the Olelo broadcast….

read … As Public Clamors For Information, Senate Panel On COVID-19 Goes Dark

  *   *   *   *   *

Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 holds first meeting

News Release from Hawaii Senate Democratic Caucus, March 19, 2020

The Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 held its first meeting today (Thurs, March 19, 2020) and provided the following information about its findings.

The Airport Division of the Department of Transportation agreed with the committee’s recommendation to develop a plan on a 14-day quarantine of any arriving passengers.

  • This is a difficult action, but necessary to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and keep the people of Hawaii safe.
  • The committee strongly urged the Governor to review and implement this plan.
  • DOT reported the plan will require hiring or reassigning approximately 500 people and cost approximately $1 million per month.

The Harbors Division of the Department of Transportation, as of March 18, 2020, will no longer allow cruise ship passengers to disembark in Hawaii.

  • Cruise ships are only allowed to refuel and resupply. Passengers are not allowed to disembark. Exceptions may be made for Hawai‘i residents.
  • Ban on cruise ships disembarking is in effect for the next 30 to 60.
  • This ban will not impact cargo ships. There are safety protocols in place regarding cargo. Ban will not impact delivery of needed consumer goods.

The Department of Health has launched a new website with guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic and updates on the virus within Hawai‘i: https://hawaiicovid19.com/

As of today, there are 26 positive cases.

  • Ten most recent positive cases were tested at private labs.
  • Private labs have approximately processed 1,000 tests. The State has only processed 40 tests
  • The State has tested only those suspected to be seriously ill.
  • Private sector labs are reporting they are running low on supplies.
  • Dr. Anderson told the committee that the State is “urging people to limit the number of tests being done and to not test those who are not ill.”

Regarding the positive case from Kualoa Ranch, the individual’s extended family has tested negative.

The committee met with Adjutant General Kenneth S. Hara, who has been assigned as the incident commander of the COVID-19 response. General Hara provided the committee an update:

  • He will review DOT's 14-Day quarantine plan.
  • He is considering a proposed threshold Implementation Plan to deal with the transmission of COVID-19. This plan identifies three levels of risk:
    • Limited community transmission
    • Sustained community transmission
    • Widespread community transmission
  • The Plan also will detail actions for each government department to implement.
  • Hara will also recommend to Governor Ige there be an analysis of critical functions, including identifying the resources required to accomplish these critical (people, equipment, power, sewer, etc.) and from that analysis is a continuity of operations plan could be adopted and implemented.   

​SA Editorial: Ige must take decisive actions 

SA: Quarantine enforcement for Hawaii airport arrivals to cost $1M a month

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