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Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Does the state government know what percentage of its workforce is vaccinated against COVID-19?

Question: Does the state government even know how many of its employees are vaccinated?

Answer: No, according to the governor’s office. You are referring to Kokua Line’s June 13 column (808ne.ws/KL613), which asked the governor and Honolulu mayor’s offices what percentage of state and county workers are vaccinated against COVID-19. A spokesman for Mayor Rick Blangiardi said that at least 62% of Honolulu County’s workforce was fully vaccinated by then, while the governor’s office couldn’t provide an answer at the time. We followed up, and spokeswoman Cindy McMillan responded on Monday, saying that the state government doesn’t track employees’ COVID-19 vaccination status. Here’s her full response:

“Ever since the FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines earlier this year, Gov. Ige has strongly encouraged all Hawaii residents to receive the vaccine. As an incentive, he provided up to two hours of administrative leave (paid time off) to state employees for each shot. That policy still remains in effect even though vaccines are now available to everyone 12 years and older.

“However, place of employment is not requested when people get vaccinated for COVID-19. Furthermore, state employees — like all others who’ve been vaccinated — may get their vaccination at any one of hundreds of locations from any one of multiple providers. At this time, we are not tracking how many state workers have been vaccinated but are rather focusing on the larger community goal of reaching herd immunity as soon as possible.”

Hawaii has among the strictest COVID-19 rules in the nation, and Gov. David Ige has said they won’t all be lifted until 70% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated against the disease. As of Monday, 57% of the total population was fully vaccinated, according to the state’s methodology.

Q: When will they reopen the Liliha Public Library? It’s been closed for years, since way before the pandemic.

A: Today, with a limit of 40 library patrons allowed in the building at a time, due to COVID-19 protocols, according to a news release from the Hawaii State Library System.

“The community is invited to come for a quick browse and borrow, to use free Wi-Fi or public computers, and to see the newly- renovated space. The library plans to host a celebration for the community at a later date when it is safer to host large gatherings,” the news release said.

The library at 1515 Lili­­ha St. has been closed since late 2018 for major repairs of the 55-year-old building, including ground stabilization and repairs of structural issues; resurfacing the roof-top parking lot; fixing skylights and installing new light fixtures; fixing plumbing and sewer lines; improving the air conditioning; renovating restrooms for ADA accessibility and refurbishing staff work areas. Other renovations include installing new flooring, shelving, sign­age and furniture; painting the interior; and planting new landscaping. In addition, a special room is devoted to the library’s Chinese language collection.

The library’s public hours will be: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m.; and Fridays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Mahalo

On a quest to order a lei at Watanabe Floral Inc. for a graduation in San Bruno, Calif., I got lost and ended at some facility’s parking lot near the Honolulu airport. Fortunately, I saw a gentleman, who was about to leave, and asked him if I was at all close to Watanabe Floral Inc. He said that I was “way off” and attempted to give me directions. But seeing my perplexed look, he said, “Just follow me,” and proceeded to take me right to the floral company’s parking lot. I attempted to signal him to stop so that I could thank him, but he just waved and left. Thanks to this wonderful person, who exhibited the true aloha spirit, an 18-year-old was able to receive a beautiful orchid and ti leaf lei at his graduation. May God bless this man and allow him to be the recipient of an equally kind deed one day.

— From a very grateful senior auntie


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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