by Sherry Bracken
CAPTAIN COOK, Hawaii – Around 150 people packed Yano Hall in Captain Cook Monday evening to get an update on the dengue fever outbreak on Hawai‘i Island. Attendees were even standing outside the windows to hear from Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira, and State Department of Health officials talk about the issues. Chief Darryl Oliveira talked about the coordination efforts being led by Hawai‘i County Civil Defense. That includes working with the Department of Education to ensure information is sent home with children, coordinating county and state mosquito abatement work, and ensuring information goes out to the public via daily announcements from Civil Defense. Civil Defense is also coordinating twice-daily conference calls with all involved agencies.
State Department of Health Director Virginia Pressler talked about therole of the State Department of Health.Dr. Sarah Park asked the crowd to help spread the word about the key message from State DOH; “Fight the Bite”. That means wearing protective clothing, using insect repellent, and eliminating areas around homes where mosquitoes breed. As of Monday, 27 cases originating on Hawai‘i Island were confirmed. The Department of Health says those known to have the disease have spent time in several areas, including South Kona, Ka‘ū, Volcano, Pāhoa, Hilo, Waimea, Hawi, and the South Kohala resort area and Waikoloa Village. Dr. Park said the Department of Health will not identify the states of residence of 8 infected people who came from the mainland.
Community meetings are scheduled through next week. The next one is tonight in Na‘alehu.
LATEST NEWS: The Hawaii Island dengue fever outbreak