The entirety of Hawaii Island’s delegation asked Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim on Wednesday to restrict access to and test all residents of the Milolii Fishing Village in South Kona as COVID-19 cases rack up.
“It is our understanding there are at least 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the village and with the upcoming Labor Day weekend, we strongly believe an entry control point (should) be immediately established so that village access is limited to residents only,” states the letter signed by Sens. Kaialii Kahele, Russell Ruderman, Dru Kanuha and Lorraine Inouye, and state Reps. Mark Nakashima, Chris Todd, Richard Onishi, Joy San Buenaventura, Richard Creagan, Nicole Lowen and David Tarnas. It closes by saying prompt action will “help to contain and control the spread of COVID-19 outbreak within this community.”
The letter advises the mayor the novel coronavirus has the potential to spread rapidly among households in the village. Some 300 residents make up the community, which features many multigenerational households that do not have anywhere else to go.
The delegation also requested “the immediate testing” of the entire village by the county and/or the state Department of Health.
“In addition, we are requesting that each household be provided adequate personal protective equipment as available by the County of Hawaii,” the letter tendered to Kim reads. “Finally, we recommend educational outreach in the village so that the community realizes the seriousness of the pandemic and the importance of following social distancing and mask wearing rules.”
The letter, shared with West Hawaii Today by Kahele, who has close ties to the village, wraps up stating that prompt action will “help to contain and control the spread of COVID-19 outbreak within this community.”
Kim was unable to be reached for comment as of press-time Wednesday. Also cc’d in the official letter from the state Legislature were Gov. David Ige, Health Director Bruce Anderson, Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno and Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairwoman Suzanne Case.
Milolii was one of three locations closed on the Big Island during the 2015 dengue fever outbreak that sickened over 260 people. Also closed for several months during the outbreak were Hookena and Waipio Valley.