KITV 4 ABC | Gabbard: DOH has consistently 'failed to step up to the plate'

September 3, 2020
In The News

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard recently hosted a tele-town hall meeting to update Hawai‘i residents about COVID-19.


Rep. Tulsi Gabbard recently hosted a tele-town hall meeting to update Hawai‘i residents about COVID-19, with epidemiologist Dr. DeWolfe Miller, and Dr. Scott Miscovich who has been at the forefront of testing efforts across the state.

Prior to the meeting, the Department of Health’s (DOH) new investigations branch chief and head of the state’s contact tracing program, Dr. Emily Roberson, requested a leave of absence until issues can be sorted out. Though Dr. Sarah Park had been removed as head of the contact tracing program, recent reports indicate she is blocking and micromanaging Dr. Roberson.

“Earlier this week we saw Director Anderson step down and it’s long past time for Dr. Sarah Park to go as well. People will continue to get sick and die if the Governor fails to take action at this critical time.  We’ve heard horror stories of people not being informed about exposure or being discouraged from getting tested even if they have been exposed,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “People across the state have made huge sacrifices to their day-to-day lives following preventative measures. They expect Governor Ige to lead, to make sure his Department of Health is doing its job with a robust testing and tracing program that is transparent and accountable to the public.”

In the meeting, Gabbard noted that the DOH has consistently "failed to step up to the plate and implement common-sense methods that we know work to stop this disease: testing and contact tracing."

The state has received over $50 million in federal funding for testing and tracing efforts, in part for her work in Congress with Hawai‘i’s Congressional delegation. Gabbard says it is "absolutely unacceptable that this funding has not been used to develop a robust testing and contact tracing effort in our state, and the outbreak that we are currently experiencing is a direct result of DOH’s failure in leadership."

Dr. Scott Miscovich and Dr. DeWolfe Miller agree that Hawai‘i’s leaders should be held accountable for the state’s response to the virus.

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