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HONOLULU -- Gov. David Ige has approved a stay at home order for Oahu, which will take effect this Thursday and last for two weeks. Tuesday’s announcement comes in response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the Hawaiian island.
Officials noted that while the shutdown is in place they will quickly ramp up testing, contact tracing, and isolation efforts to contain future outbreaks. Last week, U.S. PIRG delivered a letter signed by more than 1,300 health professionals nationwide -- including several in Hawaii -- to Gov. Ige, urging him to take these steps.
Sydney Riess, the public health fellow for U.S. PIRG, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Ige’s announcement:
“While shutting down is a hardship, Governor Ige is showing leadership by making that call now. It will save lives and prevent needless suffering and death by rapidly bringing down the number of cases.
A shutdown like this needs to be just the first step. It won’t have a lasting effect if officials don’t use the time to set up protocols to contain future outbreaks. Right now, Hawaii only has about a third of the testing capacity it needs. State officials should rapidly ramp up testing, and federal officials should provide the support they need to make it happen.
If cases come down and those testing, tracing, and isolation protocols are put in place, it’ll set Oahu up to reopen safely in the future. This is our second chance, we might not get a third.”
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