The Hawaii State Senate will reconvene today, despite learning Saturday that a Senate staff member had tested positive for COVID-19.
Senate President Ron Kouchi sent out a memo Saturday informing Senate members of the new case, which he said posed little risk of spreading the virus.
“The (Department of Health) has informed me that the risk of infection to other employees is low as all social distancing requirements were followed,” Kouchi wrote. “Masks were always worn while in the Capitol, equipment was continuously sanitized, proper distancing was observed.”
Kouchi said Health Department has been informed of the infection and has initiated contact tracing.
In mid-June, House Speaker Scott Saiki said in a letter that a staff member at the House Majority Research Office had tested positive for coronavirus. In that case, which occurred when the state Legislature was closed to the public, all workers in the same office were isolated at home.
Reaction to both cases is in contrast to mid-March when Sen. Clarence Nishihara’s positive coronavirus prompted Saiki to tell workers to leave the Capitol as soon as possible, and not return until given clearance to do so.
At the time, health officials said they believed Nishihara may have picked up the coronavirus during a Feb. 22 to Feb. 25 visit to Las Vegas, where he visited the downtown Main Street Station and California Hotel & Casino and played the slot machines.
Based on the results of three negative antibody tests, Nishihara later speculated that his COVID-19 test result may have been a false positive.