(BIVN) – Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim on Friday issued an Emergency Proclamation “to increase preparedness for the possible arrival of Coronavirus in the State.”
Officials say there are no confirmed cases of the virus, also known as COVID-19, on the Big Island or in the state. A county press release was issued after proclamation was signed, saying:
The proclamation is a proactive measure to do all we can to prevent the virus from coming here and to do all we can to limit its impact if it does come here. Besides heightening preparedness, the Emergency Proclamation will allow for greater mobilization of County resources, positions the County for reimbursement should State or Federal monies become available, allow for coordination with Federal, State and NGO (non-governmental organization) partners and allow for reassignment of County personnel if necessary.
“While recognizing that the County of Hawai‘i and the State of Hawai‘i have no reported COVID-19 cases, the County of Hawai‘i will be increasing promotion of precautionary measures and education as recommended by the CDC and State of Hawai‘i Department of Health by increasing County-wide programs” of prevention and education, the Proclamation said.
“Our goal is to stop the virus, and if it does come here, to mitigate the spread of the virus,” Mayor Kim said. The County is working closely with the Governor’s Office and the State Department of Health to achieve this goal.
Here is the full text of the Emergency Proclamation:
WHEREAS, Chapter 127A Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, provides for the establishment of County organizations for emergency management and disaster relief with the Mayor having direct responsibility and authority over emergency management within the County.
WHEREAS, Chapter 127A Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes and Chapter 7, Articles 1 and 2 of the Hawai‘i County Code, establishes a Civil Defense Agency within the County of Hawai‘i and prescribes its powers, duties, and responsibilities, and Section 13-23 of the Hawai‘i County Charter empowers the Mayor of the County to declare emergencies; and
WHEREAS, On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern due to a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City Hubei Provence, China; and
WHEREAS, this novel coronavirus, renamed “COVID-19,” has infected tens of thousands in parts of China, and has spread to other countries, including the United States; and
WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) is the leading national public health institute of the United States and under the federal Department of Health and Human Services; and
WHEREAS the CDC has been working closely with state and local partners, as well as public health partners to respond to COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine, taking every day preventative actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed; and
WHEREAS, while there have been no reported cases in the County of Hawaiʻi and the State of Hawaiʻi, the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health recommends getting the seasonal flu shot; frequent washing of hands, if soap and water is not readily available then use an alcohol based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol; avoid touching of eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; and practice healthy cough etiquette; and
WHEREAS, Section 127A-12 Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, as amended, provides for the authority of the Mayor to sponsor and enter into mutual aid programs; receive, expend and use contributions or grants and procure federal aid; and
WHEREAS, Section 127A-13(B) of Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, amended, provides for the authority of the Mayor to relieve hardships and inequities or obstructions to public health, safety or welfare found by the Mayor to exist in the laws of the county and suspend the same in part or in whole; and
WHEREAS, while recognizing that the County of Hawaiʻi and the State of Hawaiʻi have no reported COVID-19 cases, the County of Hawaiʻi will be increasing promotion of precautionary measures as recommended by the CDC and State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health by increasing County-wide programs to prevent the spread of germs and COVID19; and
WHEREAS, due to the possibility of imminent emergency or disaster due to bodily injury to residents of Hawaiʻi Island, and the need for government agencies and representatives from the private sector to mobilize and provide financial and other immediate services to our island residents, a state of emergency is authorized pursuant to Chapter 127A Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, and Chapter 7, Hawaiʻi County Code.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, HARRY KIM, Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i, do hereby proclaim and declare that a state of emergency exists due to the imminent danger or threat of emergency on the Hawai‘i Island, effective Friday, February 28, 2020, and continuing thereon for 60 days or until further act by this office.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the County of Hawai‘i to be affixed. Done this 28th day of February, 2020 in Hilo, Hawai‘i