Gov. David Ige joined Spotlight Hawaii today to discuss the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a wide-ranging interview, Ige said that people in Hawaii will need to learn to live with the virus for at least the next 12 months, and that will mean significant adjustments to every day life.
“Each one of us has to recognize that everything we do, we have to differently. That really means wearing your mask even at home. You never know who might be exposed to the virus. Unless everyone in your home is completely shutdown, and not going out, and not interacting with anyone,” he said.
“Every business needs to change how they conduct business to maintain social distancing, to stop the spread of the virus. Virtually every industry, every organization, needs to think about what they can do to help fight the spread of the virus.”
Ige says concerns about the capacity of hospitals in the state led to the current “stay-at-home, work-from-home” order on Oahu. He says whether that is extended or not will depend on the number of COVID-19 cases in the community.
“We went from less than 50 COVID patients in hospitals all across the state, to more than 200 in very short order. And so that’s what drove the shutdown, the concern for the number of cases. The hospitals are stressed but not overwhelmed, and we want to make sure that they don’t get overwhelmed,” he said.
The governor also addressed the newly announced retirements of the heads of the state Department of Health and the Public Safety Department. He took questions about new unemployment benefits, contact tracing, the reopening of public schools and the pre-travel testing program.
Spotlight Hawaii, which shines a light on issues affecting Hawaii, airs live 10:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Join Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies this month for a conversation with guests. Click here to watch previous conversations.