Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Statement on the 10th Death at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home

September 10, 2020
Press Release
Honolulu, HI—Today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement on the 10th death of a resident at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home:
“Our nation’s heroes and their families made profound sacrifices for the country we love, and it is our honor to care for them in their time of need. Losing ten of my fellow veterans at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home to COVID-19 leaves a profound hole in our hearts. 
“It is unconscionable that these veterans who selflessly sacrificed so much now find themselves struggling to survive under the threat of this virus — yet another consequence of the lack of testing and contact tracing should have been in place months ago, that continues to plague our state.
“We are in close contact with those responsible for managing the facility to help provide support to contain this outbreak and prevent more undue suffering and loss of life. Not only is urgent action needed to protect our veterans, urgent action is needed to protect every person in our state.” 
Background: Opened in 2008, the Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home in Hilo is the only dedicated veterans care home in Hawaiʻi. The facility is named for the late Technical Sergeant Yukio Okutsu, who was awarded the Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor for his bravery and service in the Army’s legendary 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II.
Since August, the home has been battling a growing COVID-19 cluster. A majority of residents at the 95-bed facility have tested positive, as have a mounting number of staff members.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for over 17 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major in the Army Reserve. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard…
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