Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Wednesday appointed Lt. Gov. Josh Green as the administration’s liaison between the state and healthcare community “as it pertains” to coronavirus preparedness and response, “effective immediately.”

While there are no confirmed cases in Hawaii, the virus also known as COVID-19 “is spreading internationally, and suspected community spread in the continental United States emphasizes the need for Hawaii to prepare for a potential outbreak,” according to a press release from the administration.

Lieutenant Gov Josh Green speaks during press conference on measles medical mission to Samoa.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green during a press conference on a measles medical mission to Samoa in 2019. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2019

Green is a physician, something Ige said makes him “uniquely positioned to act as our liaison with healthcare officials across the state.”

Green will be tasked with evaluating the medical community’s readiness to deliver care to people who test positive, evaluate equipment supply, coordinate efforts to secure additional equipment and advocate for appropriation funding at state and federal levels.

Said Green, “I have a longstanding relationship with many in our healthcare community and look forward to working with them in this capacity.”

Meanwhile, all six suspected cases of the coronavirus in Hawaii tested negative, the Hawaii Department of Health confirmed Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the department told Civil Beat that three tests conducted Tuesday yielded negative results for the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Samples were taken from Oahu, Hawaii Island and Maui. On Friday and over the weekend, the other first three tests also confirmed patients did not have the coronavirus.

Hawaii began testing patients for the coronavirus on Friday, but only those who are referred by a physician and who are exhibiting symptoms and have a travel history to places where infection case numbers are growing, including China, Japan, South Korea, Italy and Iran.

Testing had been delayed for more than a week after the kits distributed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had an error.

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