County has $2M to battle COVID-19

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    From left, Councilmember Felicia Cowden, Solomon Kanoho with the Kaua‘i Fire Department, Mayor Derek Kawakami, Dr. Janet Berreman of the state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office, Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro, Councilmember Mason Chock, Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency Administrator Elton Ushio and Councilmember Luke Evslin pause after Kawakami signed an emergency proclamation appropriating money to combay coronavirus.

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    Mayor Derek Kawakami signs the $2 million emergency appropriations bill. From left are County Councilmember Felicia Cowden, Solomon Kanoho with the Kaua‘i Fire Department, Kawakami, Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro and Councilmember Mason Chock.

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i’s mayor and County Council released $2 million in emergency funds for Kaua‘i response to COVID-19 on Wednesday, the same day the World Health Organization declared a pandemic of the virus and the state Department of Health said the number of people self-monitoring in Hawai‘i crept up to 41.

The Kaua‘i County Council approved the emergency bill Wednesday that helps prepare the county for the potential that COVID-19 will be confirmed on the island, but the money can also be used to cover any unexpected expenses related to any type of disaster.

These funds will be used by the county administration as they see fit to cover expenditures like personal protective equipment, labor loss, isolation of groups and individuals, overtime due to workers covering for those who are recommended to stay home if they are sick, and purchases to ensure the health and safety of the public and the county workers.

“This is a unique situation, a new virus that has reached pandemic levels,” said Kawakami on Wednesday while signing the emergency bill.

“The reason why we asked for two million — and there is no exact science behind this — (is that the money will help us) respond and be proactively prepared for this COVID-19.”

Kawakami said should a virus outbreak occur on Kaua‘i, he expects county workers will be having to do overtime hours to make sure essential services continue — services like trash pickup and public safety.

He also said he doesn’t anticipate asking for more money to be released.

“That’s why we did the two million. Its good for a 60-day period, but like I said, this is something that the whole world is still learning about. It’s constantly evolving,” he said.

“I have to say the challenging part of this situation is that we are really pioneers. As far as being able to respond to COVID-19, we need to have things lined up.”

Councilmember Felicia Cowden praised the emergency release of funds, highlighting the Grand Princess cruise ship, which made port calls to Nawiliwili, Honolulu, Lahaina and Hilo late last month.

She said, while it’s a great first step, she’s ready to hear about more ways to further protect the public.

“It is really important not to be exposing our people. Better safe than sorry,” Cowden said.

“This money is basically providing for our county workers to be managing and doing the right job. But the bigger issue is the broader public. How do we keep everybody protected and how can we encourage businesses and individual to get smarter with using Clorox wipes or whatever they need on cash registers or their public areas?” she asked.

DOH reported it is capable of doing testing for up to 250 individuals per week for COVID-19. Results can be ready within 24 to 48 hours after a sample is collected.

One recent visitor — an individual from Canada — tested positive for COVID-19 upon his return to Canada, and DOH said Wednesday that it “has reached out to its federal partners” but has not received any information on the individual as of Wednesday.

DOH advises people who think they may have symptoms of COVID-19 to contact their health-care provider in advance of going to a medical facility.

w Tell the provider about symptoms and any recent travel. Health-care providers will discuss any possible cases of COVID-19 with DOH to determine if testing is needed;

w Consider utilizing tele-health services, if available;

w Avoid traveling or leaving home if you are sick, except for visiting the doctor after contacting them in advance.


Stephanie Shinno, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0424 or The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  1. kauaiboy March 12, 2020 4:12 am Reply

    “One recent visitor — an individual from Canada — tested positive for COVID-19 upon his return to Canada, and DOH said Wednesday that it “has reached out to its federal partners” but has not received any information on the individual…”

    OK, please report clearly! The implication in the article indicates that he may have visited Kauai. Is there any information as the which of the islands this visitor may have visited? If not, then say so. Can you determine which airline he traveled on?

    Transparency and full truthful information is of the essence.

  2. Charlie Chimknee March 12, 2020 5:25 am Reply

    Signing your bank card transaction with your finger…? YIKES !

    Then itch your nose or eye…? And the guy that signed before you is a CoVid Carrier…?

    Please provide a glass of disinfectant to dip the finger in…!

  3. Jesse March 12, 2020 6:58 am Reply

    2M? You’re going to need a bigger checkbook…. Hawai’i is going to be locked down, hope you’re all ready.

  4. Vicky March 12, 2020 7:34 am Reply

    BIG DEAL! I don’t need money we don’t need money. You guys need to stop the virus coming here to the islands, like for 1 stop that stupid cruise ships from coming here! Close down the Hawaii for 14 days at least. Paris and the NBA did. KEEP US SAFE, we have medical we no need Money!!

  5. Kauaidoug March 12, 2020 8:35 am Reply

    I went to the hospital yesterday for a Dr visit and found the hospital woefully unprepared for prevention of the spread of clovid19. Everything from the lineup to registration to the counters everyone leans on and most disturbing was the reuse of pens that one uses to fill out forms! Small things , yes but it is the smallest of things we ate fighting and I left the hospital very very concerned. So please let’s get our hospital up t o speed before it is too late!

    1. Vicky March 12, 2020 5:51 pm Reply

      Kawakami and the whole county council is all jokers. Arthur Brun is a drug dealer and our Major is an alcoholic. So embarrassing

  6. Rev Dr Malama March 12, 2020 9:36 am Reply

    Uh ohh, more free trips for Council members to “study” the problem….
    I suggest that they all go to China on a Private Princess Cruise…. our Council members and Mayor deserve it!

  7. Kauaidoug March 12, 2020 10:52 am Reply

    Even though we had the infected cruise ships right here in our community I visited the hospital yesterday for a drs visit and found the hospital sorely lacking prevention of clovid19. I was apalled and pointed out several things to employees such as the counters not cleaned and reuse of pens at the registration check in. After that and a visit to Costco. Shopping carts and gas pumps reused constantly all da

    1. CommonSenseish March 13, 2020 7:45 am Reply

      Well, stay home then? It’s out there… it’s unstoppable. Take PREVENTATIVE action because no one is to blame. It’s like blaming someone for you getting a cold… RIDICULOUS… Common Sense… Touch the pumps? Sanitize your hands after, or wear gloves. Pens gross? Bring your own. I mean, how hard is this.

  8. WestsideResident March 12, 2020 8:31 pm Reply

    If the media didn’t hype it, we’d never know it hit us.

    Democrats colluding with China.

  9. CommonSenseish March 13, 2020 7:42 am Reply

    Look at those smiles…. You know where that money is going, into their pockets. Pay raise for you! Pay raise for you! Pay raise for you…. COK is a joke. They just take take take and give bare minimal back. Greedy.

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