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Tuesday, March 17, 2020
COVID Circulating at Capitol? Nishihara Tests Positive
By Rep Gene Ward @ 9:28 PM :: 368 Views :: Hawaii State Government, Health Care

Hawai‘i State Senator Clarence Nishihara tests positive for COVID-19

News Release from Hawaii State Senate, March 19, 2020 

Honolulu, Hawai‘i – Hawai‘i State Senator Clarence K. Nishihara was informed today that he has tested positive for COVID-19, and he informed his colleagues and staff.

This is the first known case of COVID-19 at the Hawaii State Capitol building.

Senate President Ron Kouchi sent a memo to all staff informing them of the positive test result.

The memo recommends all Senate offices close until further notice. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Senator Nishihara is a Democrat in his fourth term who represents Waipahu, Crestview, Manana, Pearl City, and Pacific Palisades on the island of O‘ahu.

---30---

Also on Thurs Mar 19: State Capitol's Public Access room reopens to modified procedures in light of COVID-19 concerns

SA: Hawaii state Sen. Clarence Nishihara tests positive for coronavirus

  *   *   *   *   *

LAWMAKER FORBIDS STAFF FROM WORKING AT CAPITOL UNTIL PROOF OF CAPITOL EMPLOYEES NOT EXPOSED TO CORONAVIRUS

“Awaits test results or outcome of Capitol employee's quarantine for past 14 days"

News Release from Office of Rep Gene Ward, March 16, 2020

Representative Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai) following today's shut down of the State Legislature over Coronavirus concerns, has instructed his staff to not return to the Capitol.  The reason for this was the uncertainty of the presence of the Coronavirus at the Capitol.

On March 4, 2020 a Capitol employee was suspected of having been exposed to the virus, and the Public Access was subsequently shuttered.  On March 12, Rep. Ward requested Dr. Bruce Anderson "to please assist in ameliorating this uncertain situation by making a public announcement on the status of the health conditions at the State Capitol, that is, whether the Coronavirus was present in the building or was it not present at the Capitol." 

Following no response, Ward wrote another letter to Dr. Anderson asking for update on the status of the employee but has not received an answer to either of his letters.  (See attached letters to Dr. Anderson of March 12 and March 16, 2020)

In his latest letter Ward expected an update of some kind "Since the exposure was said to have taken place on March 4, 2020, the 14-day incubation period would, therefore, be completed within the next 48 hours, (i.e. on Wednesday, March 18, 2020)"

"Either the Capitol employee will have been tested, or at least has been quarantined for the virus's symptoms, but the employees in this building deserve to know the outcome in either instance." Ward said.

If the Capitol employee's quarantine proves positive or if the Coronavirus test results turn out to be positive, (if the person was tested at all) this is a very important piece of information because it means all elected officials in the building are potential carriers of the virus.

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Background: COVID-19: Legislators Cut Public Access

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