An all-hands-on-deck response from state agenciesPosted on Dec 29, 2020 in Capitol Connection, Featured
Multiple state departments came together to respond to fast-changing COVID-19 conditions, case numbers, community concerns and federal guidelines. What the people didn’t see is the countless hours of coordination that went into developing and implementing programs such as Safe Travels and pre-travel testing, airport screening, quarantine and emergency proclamation enforcement, and system and staffing upgrades by many agencies to handle the unprecedented demands.
The Hawai‘i National Guard, under incident commander Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, launched the largest and longest support mission in its history, providing 1,300 service members in support of the state’s Pandemic Action Plan. Hawai‘i Army and Air National Guard members executed tasks, including 24,000 COVID-19 swab tests, passenger thermal screenings at airports, transporting thousands of pounds of cargo, contact tracing, vaccination planning and community food and free PPE distribution. The Guard recently received federal approval for a funding extension so it can continue to provide assistance to the state through March 31, 2021. The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency continues to support numerous operations and emergency preparedness.
The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) has been an integral part of the state’s COVID-19 response — from minimizing the spread of COVID-19 at airports statewide, implementing the Safe Travels program and thermal screening and coordinating with partner agencies on pre-travel testing and surge testing on the H-3 freeway. HDOT also works closely with the DOH and multiple federal, state, county and private agencies to provide current COVID-19-related travel information and messaging.