Gabbard: Health Department leaders putting Hawaii residents in ‘grave danger’

Gabbard: Governor should either fire DOH leaders for handling of pandemic or resign himself

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard didn’t mince words in a video posted online Wednesday, saying that the state Health Department’s director and epidemiologist should resign for how they’ve handled Hawaii’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

She said Bruce Anderson, state Health director, and Dr. Sarah Park are putting Hawaii residents in “grave danger.”

“The latest example is their continued refusal to carry out the most basic and effective policies to prevent the spread of coronavirus — contact tracing, testing and isolation of those who have been in contact with someone who has the disease,” said Gabbard, D-Hawaii, in a video.

The state Health Department said it would start testing asymptomatic contacts of those with COVID-19. It’s something that Lt. Gov. Josh Green, a physician, has pushed for.

In her video on Twitter, Gabbard continued: “Every step of the way, Dr. Park and Bruce Anderson have stubbornly resisted every action needed to contain and prevent the spread of coronavirus. ... Anderson and Park are either grossly out of touch or extremely negligent,” she continued.

“If they are allowed to continue, they will unnecessarily be putting the people of Hawaii in greater danger, which will certainly lead to more infections, greater suffering and deaths.”

She added that if the governor doesn’t fire Anderson and Park, then he should resign himself and allow Lt. Gov. Josh Green to “step up and lead.”

“I do not say this lightly, but our lives and the lives of our loved ones are at stake.”

In response to the statements, Ige said he has “full faith and confidence” in the Health Department’s leadership. “We are outperforming virtually every other state in the country. We have the situation under control,” he said.

“I think we can all be proud of the work that we’ve done.”

This story will be updated.

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