Ashley Mizuo

General Assignment/Community Reporter

Born and raised on O’ahu, she’s a graduate of ‘Iolani School and has a BA in Journalism and Political Science from Loyola University Chicago and an MA in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.   

Ashley’s first experience in audio storytelling was recording conversations with her grandfather about what it was like to grow up in Japanese internment camps during the second World War. More recently, she has been working as a statehouse reporter in Illinois’s capital city and before that as an editorial fellow at Washingtonian Magazine. She’s also done internships at the CBS Chicago bureau in their Specials and Investigation Unit and at Honolulu Magazine, where she wrote an award-winning feature story. She’s also worked in social media and produced and hosted a podcast asking people about their worst day at work—with the descriptive title “Work Sucks.”

Ways to Connect

Ashley Mizuo/HPR

The state Department of Health is looking to scale down its contact tracing operation at the end of the year. This comes as local officials seek more federal funds to pay for COVID-19 efforts -- and as infections continue to spread unabated countrywide.


A seniors advocacy group has called on the state department of health to reveal more about nursing home inspections than it presently does. The lack of disclosure involves both the state and federal governments.

What’s at the top of educators’ holiday wishlist this school year? Reliable internet for their students. HPR spoke with some of Hawaii’s public school teachers about what they need most for their classrooms.

Ashley Mizuo/HPR

Hawaii reopened to visitors who want to avoid quarantine about a month ago. The state allows travelers to skip the 14-day quarantine if they take a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before departing to the islands. What is it like to go through the Safe Travels program?

AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy

COVID-19 testing sites are popping up all over Hawaii as the state increases its testing capacity. But can anyone get a test on demand and, if not, how is that decided?

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Kauai and Maui are encouraging trans-Pacific travelers to take a free, second COVID-19 test a few days after they arrive on the islands. It’s as an extra precaution to stem the spread of the virus -- but few are taking up the offer.

daveiam/Flickr / CC 2.0 license

Adrian Tam is the new state House representative for District 22 covering the Kakaako and Waikiki area.

He will make history as the only declared LGBTQ elected official in the state Legislature.

Tam says his main objective will be to diversify Hawaii’s economy away from just tourism, construction and military.

Beyond economic diversification, Tam wants to focus on public safety and homelessness.

He’s aware his election is noteworthy.

Hawaii residents have until 7 p.m. Tuesday to cast their ballots in one of the most pivotal elections in the country’s modern history.

AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Some Hawaii public schools have welcomed back students for in-person classes. But parents say it puts them in a difficult spot: how can they decide if it’s safe to send their kids back to campus?

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Travelers from Japan will be able to avoid the state’s 14-day quarantine with a negative COVID-19 test starting on November 6th.

The Honolulu Police Department headquarters
Casey Harlow/HPR

A federal lawsuit against the city and Honolulu Police Department alleges an officer arrested a 15-year-old at school after the boy was in a fight with the officer’s son. The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii says the case illustrates how some officers abuse their positions while the disciplinary actions taken by the police department are shrouded in secrecy. 

blende12 from Pixabay

The state reopens to tourism today, waiving the mandatory quarantine for travelers who test negative for COVID-19 before their arrival. But there is still debate over whether the plan will keep Hawaii safe.

Casey Harlow / HPR

Maui and Kauai haven’t decided whether they will follow the lead of the Big Island and opt out of the state’s pre-travel testing program, leaving the 14-day quarantine in place.

Maui County

Maui County residents will be casting ballots for state representatives, county councilmembers, Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees and seven county charter amendments.

Ashley Mizuo/HPR

Online access has become vital for Hawaii children, now more than ever. COVID-19 has meant distance learning for most of Hawaii’s students.

Keaau Elementary

About 18,000 Hawaii students attended this year’s public summer school. The programs were to especially help students who were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

The state Department of Health issued guidance for schools, both public and private, to transition to at least some in-person learning.

AP Photo/Caleb Jones

Mainland travelers may be able to avoid quarantine if they get a negative COVID-19 test before arriving in Hawaii starting October 15th. But some say the one-test plan is unsafe for Hawaii.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Joint Information Center

The state Department of Health has redesigned its contact tracing program with a new leader to adapt to the surge in COVID-19 cases. It's too soon to tell if the changes will be enough to contain the virus but the program will be closely watched.

COVID-Pau initiative

Updated: 9/10/2020, 12:05 p.m.


Hawaii recorded three more COVID-19 deaths today and 169 cases of new infections. The latest daily counts bring the state death toll to 94 and the total number of cases to 10,292.

Ashley Mizuo/HPR

The departures of top leaders from the state Department of Health follow disclosures of major shortcomings in the state’s response to COVID-19. These events have diminished public confidence in what officials say. However, trust is crucial in maintaining the public’s health.

F. Muhammad from Pixabay

Pacific Islanders have been hardest hit by COVID-19 in the islands. They are catching the virus in disproportion to their small numbers in the population. One reason is that -- as with young people -- public information on how to avoid the virus has been failing to reach them in ways they can act on it.

Hawaii Department of Health

The state Department of Health continues to record a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases among young people. One key reason may be that public messages to avoid the virus haven't yet effectively reached them.

Casey Harlow/HPR

State Health Director Bruce Anderson and Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda will be retiring by the end of September. Both came under heavy criticism for what some saw as their inadequate response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases statewide and in the prison system.

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The state’s hospital industry says it’s facing a crisis and has appealed to the federal government to help it staff critically needed beds.

Teachers and students across the state concluded their first week of school Friday. Some attended class in-person and others started the year online with distance learning. That decision was largely left up to individual principals.

Ashley Mizuo

After mounting criticism, the state Department of health has scaled up its contact tracing efforts. It includes a streamlined process with new protocols in the contact tracing method.

StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

As Hawaii struggles to control its soaring COVID-19 numbers, it might turn to Austin, Texas where researchers built a model to forecast how different actions can affect levels of infection in the area. It could give Hawaii insights into using hospital cases to determine when it’s time to lock down.

AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Hawaii public schools today begin a month of distance learning to kick off the new school year.

But for many students -- and some parents -- it will be back to campus to learn in person how to use online technology and meet the teachers.

The teachers’ union opposes that plan. It says it’s not safe to hold in-person training while COVID-19 cases are surging.

At Kauai High School, about half the students, several hundred of them, are expected on campus to attend all-day classes for one week.

Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

The state Department of Health is working to increase contact tracing after Gov. David Ige put a new person in charge of the effort following mounting criticism of the program.