Schatz, Hirono frustrated over federal coordination with Hawaii over coronavirus

Hirono, Schatz react to briefing on coronavirus

WASHINGTON, D.C. (HawaiiNewsNow) - After a briefing Wednesday on the nation’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono said federal authorities have coordinated poorly with state officials and aren’t providing enough logistical support.

“The problem is that the decisions that were made were very abrupt,” Schatz told CBS News reporter Nancy Cordes. “For instance, my airport manager, my governor, my lieutenant governor, my infectious disease specialist back home found out that Honolulu would be one of the sites through media reports.”

Honolulu serves as one of 11 airports in the nation designated to receive and screen travelers who have been to mainland China in the last 14 days.

[Read more: Screenings to begin at Honolulu’s airport amid growing concerns about deadly virus]

"The coordination was not just minimal, it was zero. And if you're going to do a public health response, you have to work with state and local government, and they just didn't," Schatz said.

Hirono added, "Brian and I are going to follow up with the concerns we have with the need for better communication. And also we need resources and logistical support that our state is saying they're not getting. They're getting directives from the feds."

There have been 11 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S., mostly involving recent travel to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began.

Hawaii has seen no confirmed or suspected cases of the disease.

Hawaii News Now has reached out to the CDC for further comment.

This story will be updated.

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