Pacific islanders say they’re being ignored by Hawaii in ‘war’ against spread of coronavirus
Honolulu, Hawaii — Leaders of a Pacific Islander advocacy group desperate for help fighting the virus joined Lieutenant Governor Josh Green for a Zoom town hall meeting Thursday.
The group, made up of Micronesians, Samoans, and Tongans have been hardest hit and say they’ve been ignored.
The Pacific Islander group has the highest rate of infection in Hawaii, a University of Hawaii study showed. The data reported by Hawaii News Now in July showed that they have more than 527 coronavirus patients out of every 100-thousand people, more than any other ethnic groups.
And new numbers show they made up 38% of all the cases the last week of July.
The study helped doctors who treat these patients to sound the alarm but the advocacy leaders say the Department of Health has been ignoring them.
Paul gave examples of patients who weren’t contacted for days, “From the time that they were identified as positive to the (time) that the Department of Health reaches out to them, it’s just taking too long.”
Headrick Hunkin, a Pastor at Lighthouse Outreach Center said the data cannot be hidden from the public out of fear, “Let’s be straight up with the community, let’s be honest. They need to know the statistics, they need to know the breakdown.”
State Health Director Bruce Anderson conceded that more resources are needed to help Pacific Islanders and he committed more resources admitting that the Micronesian and Samoans especially need translators and outreach.