HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state is urging residents to take steps now to prepare for the potential spread of the coronavirus to Hawaii amid a stark warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the virus could cause a “significant disruption” to American life.
“It’s not so much a matter of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
“We cannot hermetically seal off the United States to a virus, and we need to be realistic about that."
Although there are still no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Hawaii, the state Department of Health issued some guidance for what people can do to be ready, including by having a 14-day kit of emergency supplies at home.
“While there are no cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaii at this time, state health officials do expect to eventually identify cases in Hawaii because this is a global health threat to our entire nation,” Health Department officials said, in a news release Tuesday.
“At this time, the imminent threat here in Hawaii is low.”
[Read more: US should expect coronavirus to spread, CDC says]
The state said to prepare for a potential outbreak, residents should:
- Come up with a family plan to consider what measures you’d need to take to prevent the spread of illness.
- Prepare a kit of emergency supplies, similar to those used during hurricane season. The kit should include 14 days worth of water, food and other necessities.
- Set aside an emergency supply of any needed medication and keep a copy of your prescriptions. The DOH recommends a three-month supply.
The CDC also says that in addition to the travel restrictions already in place, school closures, working from home and delaying elective medical procedures may be necessary.
So far, the U.S. has seen about 60 of the roughly 81,000 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide.