DOH discusses state’s reopening at COVID-19 senate committee hearing

Coronavirus

Lifting park closures in Honolulu for exercise is the first step a local government takes towards lifting some restrictions prompted by COVID-19, however, the director of the Hawaii State Department of Health said more preparedness is needed before reopening the state.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said city parks will only allow physical activity and will maintain a ban on social gatherings. The mayor also extended the work and stay home order through the end of May.

As Honolulu plans ahead, the Lt. Gov. Josh Green said, the local and state governments should be on the same page of these decisions.

Green said, “Well, it was at best a mixed message, I think most of this should be left to the governor in general because it can get confusing.”

At Wednesday’s special senate committee hearing, Dr. Bruce Anderson said more COVID-19 tests are needed, as well as increased contact tracing and personal protective equipment for medical providers before Hawaii should begin opening larger sections.

“There are criteria we all feel is critical to opening up our restaurant and everything else, one is to have a good testing program, and surveillance program,” Anderson said. “Having adequate personal equipment you’ve heard a lot of the lack of masks and things, obviously, if we don’t have all that in place and be comfortable that we can respond before we start opening up the state.”

While Lt. Gov. Green said a team is already looking ahead on how to welcome back tourists once travel restrictions begin to be lifted.

“My recommendation, is going to be a strong recommendation to all the decision-makers is that within three days of people’s arrival, get a negative test for somebody,” Green said. “I’m having my team model that right now.”

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