Lt. Gov. Josh Green is scheduled to address the Hawaii County Council during a teleconference Wednesday that includes a question-and-answer session with council members.
Green, a practicing physician who represented West Hawaii in the state Senate from 2009 to 2018 and state House from 2005 to 2009, toured Big Island hospitals last week. He’s chief of the state COVID-19 Task Force under Gov. David Ige.
Green will address the council at the beginning of its regular meeting, scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Under emergency COVID-19 rules, The public will not be allowed in the room. Satellite videoconference sites in Waimea, Kohala, Puna and Naalehu will be closed.
Live-streaming of the meetings on the County Council website and broadcasting afterward on Na Leo TV will continue.
The council on Friday heard from state Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson, who fielded questions on why testing has lagged in the state and on the Big Island.
“I feel there have been a lot of communication and coordination challenges,” said Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz. “What is the reason for such low percentage of testing compared to other states? People are falling through the cracks.”
“I think we’ve kept the disease away from the state pretty well, except for the travelers,” Anderson said.
“It’s a waste of time (to test) if they’re asymptomatic. We’re not going to find a positive even if they’re carrying the virus,” Anderson said. “It’s not a case where we can test everyone.”
Council Chairman Aaron Chung emphasized he supported the testing of state senators and others in the Capitol after a state senator who had visited Las Vegas tested positive. But he questioned the message coming from the state that people won’t test positive if they don’t have symptoms.
”I support their testing 100%. I support broad testing. I’m not criticizing our senators,” Chung said. “ In light of Dr. Anderson’s statement, there seems to be mixed messages here, and the public needs one consistent message.”
The science is still out on how often people can spread the disease without showing symptoms themselves.
“Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on its website.
Hawaii had 56 positive coronavirus tests as of Sunday, with three on the Big Island.
Under the new procedure, made allowable under the state Sunshine Law by a supplementary emergency proclamation signed by Ige, council members will be split between the West Hawaii Civic Center and the county building in Hilo, Chung said. Both the committee meetings and the council meeting will be held on a single day, instead of the usual two days.
There will be no oral testimony. Instead, written testimony on items on the agenda will be accepted before noon on the business day before the meeting via email (email@example.com), fax (961-8912) or postal mail (County Clerk’s Office, 25 Aupuni St., Hilo, HI 96720).
“We’re encouraging the public to submit testimony,” said Chung.
Public testimony for the meeting will be posted at this site as it becomes available: https://www.hawaiicounty.gov/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/413/228