Dr. Sarah Park from the Department of Health joined the COVID-19 Care Conversation to talk about testing and contract tracing.
The state epidemiologist said the state is overall in a good spot. Hawaii has gone over the peak of the first wave, but still continues to see a low number of cases. As long as numbers remain low and the community continues to maintain the recommended safety measures she believes the state “will get out of this.”
While Hawaii struggled early on with testing, due to lack of resources, Dr. Park said the supply chain has now stabilized and that private and public labs have increased capacity. Currently labs are working at only 50% of their testing capacity meaning healthcare providers can confidently conduct the testing needed.
When asked about the public’s concern for welcoming visitors while preventing an increase in cases, she shared that the confirmed cases in Hawaii have been driven by our own community, residents traveling and returning home, so it’s about residents being mindful of their own health following recent travel.
Dr. Park said that as the state continues to reopen, the community will be engaged in higher risk activities meaning more interaction with more people. Dr. Park expects to see an increase in cases during this time. As the state reopens, she urged the community to continue practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and maintaining hand hygiene. Dr. Park also mentioned that because the state is expecting an increase, they are preparing for it. The state continues to ramp up staffing and is confident in its testing capacity and plan for contact tracing. In fact, Dr. Park said that Hawaii was one of the few states that was able to continue contract tracing during the peak of the pandemic.
“Don’t rush to get back to normal life. Unfortunately we will not be going back to the regular normal. It will be a new normal,” she said as her closing thoughts. “Hawaii has been ahead of the game and we should all feel proud. We can all take credit because it really has been a community effort. As we start to open up, we can’t forget the guidance and recommendations. These will be critically important as we move forward,” she added.
Join the COVID-19 Care Conversation, live every weekday at 10:30 a.m. Yunji de Nies and Ryan Kalei Tsuji will discuss the latest news, resources and community concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in Hawaii.
On Friday, Nanci Kreidman from the Domestic Violence Action Center will be our guest. Watch here and submit your questions through our Facebook page.
The COVID-19 Care Conversation, sponsored by Hawai’i Executive Collaborative and Hawaii Pacific Health, airs live every weekday at 10:30 a.m. on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Yunji de Nies and Ryan Kalei Tsuji discuss the latest news, resources and community concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in Hawaii.