Hawai‘i State Senator Positive for COVID-19

March 19, 2020, 1:16 PM HST (Updated March 19, 2020, 1:17 PM)

The first known case of COVID-19 inside the Hawai‘i State Capitol building was announced Thursday afternoon.

Hawai‘i State Senator Clarence K. Nishihara, of O‘ahu, was informed Thursday he has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Senate press release. Sen. Nishihara is a Democrat in his fourth term who represents Waipahu, Crestview, Manana, Pearl City and Pacific Palisades.

Nishihara subsequently informed his colleagues and staff. Senate President Ron Kouchi then sent a memo to all staff informing them of the positive test result and recommending all Senate offices close until further notice.

On Monday, the Hawai‘i State Legislature suspended its 2020 session indefinitely over concerns of the potential spread of COVID-19. It is unclear whether Nishihara contracted the virus during the course of his everyday duties at the capitol.

“On any given day, hundreds of people visit and work at the State Capitol,” President Kouchi said Monday of the closure. “To combat the spread of COVID-19, it is important that we limit gatherings, especially those involving vulnerable populations.”

More information on the status of Nishihara’s case will be provided as it becomes available.


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