Hawaii National Guard ready to step in against spread of COVID-19

Coronavirus

The National Guard is on standby as the state prepares for additional measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

At this point the governor and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency say all options are on the table including putting certain communities under quarantine. But that would be the worst case scenario.

The Hawaii National Guard was activated during the Kilauea Volcano eruption on the Big Island. Those troops are now standing by because their help will be necessary for more preventative measures against COVID-19.

“We need to move and act at the pace of an unprecedented crisis we need to make assumptions that we got widespread community spread of the virus, COVID virus,” said Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

The governor appointed Hara as incident commander to lead the effort for new procedures. He says there are planners now putting together measures such as more testing at airports and harbors. There are no plans yet to force restaurants and bars to close, but it is possible further down the line.

“So we got these planners working 24-7 now to come up with a comprehensive plan from worst case if we do need to quarantine certain neighborhoods or the best case, just try to monitor or mitigate the spread hoping there’s no huge cluster,” said Hara.

State officials also made a plea for residents to stop hoarding. And warned that if it continues, police or even the National Guard might step in to put a stop to it.

“This supplemental proclamation specifically addresses hoarding and we do know that we can take action if we do believe that it is getting out of hand,” said Gov. David Ige.

“When you go to those shelves they’re all empty, so please, let’s keep this aloha spirit alive,” said Hara.

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