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Ige looking to implement ‘a public health alert network system’

Gov. David Ige’s office said today that his administration is looking to implement “a public health alert network system” in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic that continues to spread across the islands.

”We are currently exploring various technologies as we work toward implementing a public health alert network system,” Ige’s office said.

On Tuesday, the state Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 asked Ige to implement more aggressive messaging to keep everyone off of beaches, trails, recreation areas and other closed public spaces to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus .

In a Tuesday letter to Ige, members of the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 asked Ige and the state Health Department to “put in place as soon as possible a public health alert network system to provide critical information and reminders about COVID-19.”

The senators cited special messaging in South Korea and San Diego and Los Angeles Counties in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Public Safety Alerts are critical to remind both residents and visitors that in order to save lives, stay home,” the senators wrote in their letter to Ige. “This includes reminding everyone that beaches, trails, recreation areas, and other public spaces are closed. Social distancing is one of the few tools currently available to fight the spread of the virus.”

The senators also asked Ige and the Health Department to schedule a daily briefing with information on COVID-19 to provide consistent information.

The letter — signed by Senate Special Committee members Donovan Dela Cruz, Jarrett Keohokalole, Michelle Kidani, Donna Mercado Kim, Sharon Moriwaki and Kurt Fevella — asked Ige to respond by 4 p.m. today “on the strategy and timeline to establish this text alert system and the confirmation on scheduling a daily public briefing ….”

In a news release today, members of the Special Committee said that “the rules and guidelines for social distancing and sheltering-in-place are not being seriously followed in light of the alarming growth of the pandemic in the U.S.”

The senators said that South Korean officials sent emergency texts three to five times a day about the movements of COVID-19 patients that were effective in reducing community spread. Reminders and instructions were also sent with instructions on social distancing, hand washing, coughing etiquette and how to care for seniors to prevent further spread of the disease.

South Korea has since reduced the number of new cases and “flattened the curve,” according to the senators.

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