(BIVN) – There have been no cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaiʻi, and “the imminent threat” is low, according to the Hawaiʻi joint information center on Thursday. “Nevertheless, state and county agencies are intensifying their preparations,” because “state health officials do expect to eventually identify cases in Hawaii because this is a global health threat to our entire nation,” officials said.
The state says 80 individuals are currently self-monitoring with public health supervision. 5 are on Hawaiʻi Island. Individuals who are monitoring “voluntarily remain at home and refrain from work, school, gathering places, and public transit,” the state says. “They communicate daily with Department of Health staff.”
The state’s joint information center noted:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 in California in a person who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19. At this time, the patient’s exposure is unknown. This case brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States to 15.
The following national travel advisories are in effect:
The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 3 Travel Warning Avoid Non-essential Travel for South Korea.
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 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) at travel.state.gov. The State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide specific advice to travelers on their websites.
Per the Department of Transportation, the Diamond Princess cruise ship is NOT coming to Hawaii and has not made any requests to do so.
Japan has ordered all elementary, junior high and high schools nationwide to close from Monday through spring break, which typically ends in early April, the states says.
The Hawai‘i State Senate Ways and Means Committee on Thursday inserted funding to accomodate Governor David Ige’s request for an emergency appropriation of $10,568,750 for prevention and mitigation of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease.
State officials say SB75 provides the Department of Health $6.6M; Department of Transportation $2,788,750; and Department of Defense $1,180,000.
The amended bill will next go to the full Senate for third reading on Tuesday, March 3.
In an email from Tulsi Gabbard’s 2020 campaign for President, the Congresswoman called on President Trump to allow Hawai‘i to purchase COVID-19 testing kits from Japan.
“Today, I’m calling upon President Trump to instruct the bureaucrats at the CDC and FDA to immediately allow the State of Hawai‘i to get testing kits and related items from Japan, since the CDC is failing to provide them. The health and well-being of the people of Hawai‘i are at stake. This is an emergency and should be treated as such!” Gabbard stated. “As an island state, with responsible leadership, we can keep this virus out. But, we won’t be able to do that without our state and federal leaders taking it much more seriously than they are right now.”
The campaign later shared this updated message:
Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (U.S. Rep, Hawaii) campaign is thankful to report that Hawaiʻi will now be able to start testing next week, and will no longer need to get test kits from Japan. However, there are still major questions as to why it’s taken so long for the state Department of Health and the CDC to make this possible.
The Hawai‘i Department of Health is advising people to “take steps now to prepare should the risk of community spread increase”, such as:
- 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.
Health officials say 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.