(BIVN) – The World Health Organization on Tuesday was not yet calling the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, but officials in Hawaiʻi are nonetheless advising residents to prepare now for potential risks.
There are no cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaii at this time. Still, the Department of Health (DOH) is advising people to:
- Prepare a family plan should there be a COVID-19 outbreak in Hawaiʻi. If you have a large family in one home, consider what measures you can take to prevent the spread of illness.
- Prepare a kit similar to those used during hurricane seasons. These should include a 14 day supply of food, water and other necessities. For more information, visit this site.
- Set aside an emergency supply of any needed medication and keep a copy of your prescriptions in case you run out of medication. The DOH recommends a three-month supply.
- Don’t forget supplies for your pets.
The state’s joint information center update from February 25 shows 61 individuals are being “self-monitored with DOH supervision” because of their recent travel to China, with 4 on Hawaiʻi Island. None is under quarantine.
“These individuals were identified through screening by federal officials at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport,” the joint information center stated. “These numbers fluctuate often as travelers arrive, depart, or begin and end their self-monitoring with supervision by DOH.”
“State health officials do expect to eventually identify cases in Hawaii because this is a global health threat to our entire nation,” the officials wrote. “At this time, the imminent threat here in Hawaii is low.”
The joint information center also had this on travel advisories:
The U.S. State Department has issued a level 4 travel advisory asking people not to travel to China due to the COVID-19 outbreak. There is limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas. A level 2 travel advisory has been issued for South Korea and Japan and advises people to exercise increased caution especially for older adults and those with medical conditions.
Before you travel, check out Travel Advisories and Alerts for your destination(s). The State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide specific advice to travelers on their websites.
The state says everyone can help prevent the spread of respiratory illness with these everyday actions:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Sign up for public notifications.
Also, “a mask can be effective if you are ill and can prevent the spread of your illness,” the state says, however “a mask is not effective to wear when you are well and want to protect yourself from someone who is ill.”