Schatz: Hawaii to get at least $4.5M from emergency package
HONOLULU (AP) — U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said Wednesday Hawaii would receive at least $4.5 million in federal money to help it respond to the new coronavirus.
The Hawaii Democrat said the funding was included in a $8.3 billion emergency spending package that’s expected to pass both houses of Congress and be signed by the president this week.
The state Senate earlier this week approved $10.5 million in emergency funding to allow the state respond to the virus.
Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation to help the state prepare for any outbreak in the islands. The move authorizes spending of funds for supplies and equipment.
To date, the state has not confirmed any cases of the virus in Hawaii.
Ige said he designated Lt. Gov. Josh Green to be the state’s liaison to health care providers.
Green will evaluate the medical community’s readiness to deliver care to those who test positive for COVID-19, he said.
He said Green will evaluate the supply of equipment, coordinate efforts to get additional equipment as needed and advocate for state and federal funding.
Ige said Green was uniquely positioned for the role because he is a physician.
The governor said that the Grand Princess cruise ship, which visited Hawaii at the end of February, earlier in the month had on board two passengers who have since tested positive for the virus. One of the two died in California.
The Grand Princess was on a cruise to Mexico between Feb. 11 and 21 when the two passengers were on board. The vessel was currently en route to San Francisco, Ige said.
One crew member fell ill while the vessel was in Hawaii, but has tested negative for COVID-19, Ige said.