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Pandemic success came from many hands, hearts

Posted on Oct 3, 2022 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main

“I want to thank the people of Hawai‘i for putting the community first.”   Governor David Ige

Hawai‘i’s community spirit guided us through the pandemic.

Three years ago, no one could have imagined we’d be battling a global pandemic. Yet when we needed it most, Hawai‘i stepped up. Governor Ige and the county mayors worked with the Department of Health, the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency, the Healthcare Association of Hawai‘i, and multiple state, county and federal agencies to keep us safe. Community groups reached out to help, and businesses reinvented themselves to survive. And the Hawai‘i National Guard was everywhere to provide critical support. Because of the precautions taken and community cooperation, Hawai‘i has fared dramatically better than most states. The virus may still be with us, but revenues are up and the economy is rebounding. In fact, the Commonwealth Fund ranked Hawai‘i best in the nation on overall performance across 56 measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 In the blur of the past nearly three years, it’s easy to forget how far we’ve come — from knowing nothing about a strange, new coronavirus to transforming our lives to survive. The Department of Health collaborated across all levels of government and partnered with the community to respond to the crisis. Multiple state departments were involved in supporting new programs, new websites and new multi-media campaigns for mask-wearing, vaccinations and boosters, social distancing, contact tracing, quarantining and isolation, and providing advice for schools, businesses, healthcare facilities, the visitor industry and more. Whole new programs, such as Safe Travels, were developed and systems improved to distribute unemployment benefits, rental relief, housing assistance, and grants to small businesses and non-profits. As the world pivoted online, the state created sites like Buy Hawai‘i, Give Aloha and Remote Work Hawai‘i. And programs such as the Hawai‘i Restaurant Card and the Da Bux program helped feed people statewide.


Read more in the October Capitol Connection newsletter.

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