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Roth remains hospitalized after heart attack

Mayor Mitch Roth remained hospitalized Monday at Hilo Medical Center after suffering a heart attack Saturday evening in South Kohala.

“He’s still in the hospital, but he’s recovering and he’s in great spirits,” spokesman Cyrus Johnasen told West Hawaii Today Monday afternoon.

Johnasen said Roth does not have coronavirus.

“Absolutely no coronavirus,” Johnasen said. “He’s negative.”

A second evaluation is underway as doctors continue to monitor Roth’s condition, according to a press release sent out later.

“My wife Noriko and I are humbled by the outpouring of support and aloha we have received from our island community,” Roth, 56, said in a statement. “I would like to mahalo all of the staff here at Hilo Medical Center who have shown me excellent care, and I am confident that I will be back to full health very soon. In the meantime, I know my team will continue to work tirelessly to serve our community in my stead.”

Lt. Gov. Josh Green, in a Honolulu Star-Advertiser Facebook streaming session Monday morning, sent his best wishes as well.

“We send a heartfelt prayer out to Mayor Roth, who is going through a little bit of a health challenge right now,” Green said. “He is fine; he spoke with me yesterday. He and his team are on top of things and he’s just a great human being. He’ll be OK.”

Hawaii County Council Chairwoman Maile David, who represents South Kona/Ka‘u, said she was informed of the mayor’s health condition early Sunday. She sent him a text and was “sincerely touched” when Roth reached out to her to thank her for her concern.

“I told him that I know he was extremely busy these past few weeks trying to hit the ground running but that right now the most important thing is his health and that he needs to take as much time as necessary to get well completely so he can continue his good work. For now I said his number one priority is his health and his ‘ohana,” David said, adding she conveyed to Roth that he has “an excellent team that can cover for him while he gets well.”

Lee Lord, the county managing director, is acting mayor while Roth is in the hospital.

Roth, who’s been in office since Dec. 7, is not the first county mayor to have a heart attack in office.

Former Mayor Harry Kim, Roth’s immediate predecessor, had six heart attacks during his 12 years in office.

Email Nancy Cook Lauer at ncook-lauer@westhawaiitoday.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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