Hawaii Declares Emergency To Coordinate Coronavirus Efforts

Mar 4, 2020

Hawaii Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation Wednesday in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Ige said the virus has rapidly spread and has already been declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The governor noted that the U.S. has at least 108 confirmed cases of coronavirus and that it continues to spread, including in communities.

"This emergency proclamation will give us the ability to move more quickly and efficiently in our efforts to protect our communities from the virus and provide emergency relief if, and when it is necessary,” said Ige.  

The emergency relief period begins immediately and runs through April 29.

Ige said in his proclamation that the danger is "significant so as to warrant preemptive and protective actions in order to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the State...".

Under the emergency declaration, the governor can expend monies earmarked by the Legislature to deal with the coronavirus crisis, suspend laws and order emergency efforts similar to that for natural disasters.

Ige has asked state lawmakers for $10 million to fund efforts to curtail the spread of the virus.

Hawaii is also expected to receive at least $4.5 million in federal monies designed to fight the quickly spreading disease. Congress leaders agreed to a $8.3 billion appropriation to responsd to the disease, according to Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz.

The mayors of Maui, Kauai, and the City and County of Honolulu also issued proclamations today in response to the outbreak. The Hawaii Island mayor, Harry Kim, issued his declaration on Feb. 28.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.