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Watch: Mayor Roth Delivers State of the County Address

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Mayor Mitch Roth expressed his gratitude and pride in the Hawai‘i Island community during his second State of the County address this afternoon.

Roth and his administration took office amid the COVID-19 pandemic. After more than two years of various restrictions, the county lifted all its protocols early this month. And as of Friday, March 25, at 11:59 p.m., statewide pandemic restrictions will also end, marking what Roth stated as “our return to new and safer Hawaiʻi for us all.”

Looking back during those initial months in the pandemic, Roth stated it was clear that the county would have to do everything in its power to keep residents working, businesses from closing, and the island’s economy from shutting down, as it did months prior.

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“To do that, we implemented policies that were data-driven and backed by the best information we could gather,” the mayor said. “We leveraged experts in epidemiology and public health and convened numerous working groups led by our Civil Defence Administration to define our response strategy and tactics.”

In total, the county spent $125,598,396 in grants, government reimbursement funds, and county dollars to secure Big Island ports of entry, amplify community testing and launch widescale vaccination efforts when vaccines became readily available.

“Through our efforts, we vaccinated 148,870 individuals, administered over 439,375 COVID tests, and caught 18,828 positive cases here on Hawaiʻi Island,” Roth said.

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While commending state and local leaders for helping the county accomplish these efforts, Roth didn’t forget the Hawaii Island residents.

“Because of each and every one of you, we were able to keep our numbers in the hospital to a manageable level while significantly reducing the spread amongst our most vulnerable populations; all without the need to divide our community by implementing mandates or vaccination passports,” Roth said. “So again, I say to you all – mahalo, mahalo, mahalo.”

Roth addressed various goals his administration set to accomplish, their achievements and future objectives, which included:

  • Affordable housing
  • Building permits and rollout of EPIC system
  • Infrastructure repairs in East and West Hawaiʻi
  • Kīlauea Recovery
  • Water projects
  • Park repairs
  • Accessibility to mass transit
  • Public Safety
  • Sustainability
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Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.
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