Hawaii’s new pandemic phase: From emergency response to public health management

Posted on Apr 27, 2022 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main
Getting vaccinated and boosted is one of the basic forms of protection against COVID-19.

Getting vaccinated and boosted is one of the basic forms of protection against COVID-19.

The state’s Department of Health is transitioning to a new plan that recognizes COVID-19 is still with us but focuses on effectively managing, treating and detecting the disease, especially new variants. “COVID-19 isn’t going away,” said Governor Ige during an April 27 news conference.  “As part of the transition, COVID will be handled more like other diseases — something health care providers diagnose and treat.”

Recent increases in COVID-19 cases have so far not resulted in a surge in hospitalizations, although they are considered a lagging indicator. However, state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble said caution is still warranted, especially since recent infection numbers are probably an undercount with more people doing at-home tests.

“We must use all the available tools in our toolbox,” she said, which include staying home when sick, getting vaccinated and boosted and masking up, especially at large, indoor gatherings. State health director Dr. Libby Char said moving forward, COVID-19 efforts will focus on three goals: 1) protecting and treating COVID-19, 2) detecting and preparing for new variants, and 3) enhancing community resilience. To see the full plan, go to https://hawaiicovid19.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Hawaii-Department-of-Health-COVID-19-Transition-Plan-041922.pdf.

Read more in the May Capitol Connection newsletter.

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