HILO, Hawaii (KHON2) — Hawaii Governor David Ige approved Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim’s request to make a drastic change at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo.
In an interview late Friday afternoon, Mayor Kim said that Avalon Health Care has been removed as the home’s managing company.
“The governor was reviewing a request in regards to having a management change,” said Mayor Kim. “And he just called me this afternoon that the agreement that all parties in a best of interest for veterans and community and that they be turned over to the east regional board to take over.”
The East Hawaii Region of Hawaii’s Health Systems Corporation will take over for now.
Mayor Kim said that it could take up to three months until the transition from one management group to another is completed.
This comes as the facility continues to deal with an ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases.
Hawai’i Senator Brian Schatz, who called for federal intervention in early September, supported the Mayor’s decision stating “the recent reports have shown that Avalon is ill-equipped to operate the veterans home and contain this outbreak. What happens next will be critical. The transition plan to a new management team must put the health and safety of patients and staff first.”
As of Sept. 25, 71 residents and 35 employees tested positive for the virus and 26 residents have died.
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