03/31/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

March 31, 2020
I will be hosting my next telephone town hall meeting tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. HT. I will be joined by Dr. Scott Miscovich who worked with Lt. Gov. Josh Green on Hawai ‘i’s COVID-19 Task Force and is heading up drive-thru testing site efforts being done in partnership between Honolulu and Premier Medical Group Hawai‘i. We will be covering that as well as talking about the most recent emergency funding bill passed by Congress last week as well as answering your questions.
You can directly join by calling (888) 476-4187 at that time. On this call, I’ll be providing details on the third emergency funding bill that just passed Congress on Friday.
I and my team remain hard at work and available should you have any questions or if you are in need of assistance. Please call me at (808) 541-1986 or email me at TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov. And, you can visit my COVID-19 resources webpage which continues to be updated with new information that may be of help to you.
Mahalo and keep safe,
Tulsi Gabbard
Member of Congress (HI-02)

Dr. Miscovich to Talk Testing on April 1 Telephone Town Hall

Dr. Scott Miscovich will be joining me on tomorrow’s telephone town hall. He is a senior advisor to Lt. Gov. Josh Green who has joined us on previous telephone town halls. Dr. Miscovich will cover efforts to improve COVID-19 testing in Hawai‘i. I will discuss the third emergency funding bill that was passed by Congress as well as other new developments at the Federal level. And, of course, we will be answering questions from Hawai‘i residents.
Telephone Town Hall | COVID-19 Update # 3
Wednesday, April 1 at 4:00 p.m. Hawai‘i Time
Directly join by calling (888) 476-4187 at that time

Labor Department Issues Guidance on Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family Medical Leave

The U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the 2nd emergency funding bill that I voted to pass in the House on March 14. H.R.6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), takes effect on April 1, 2020.
A workplace poster required for most employers will be published later this week, along with additional fact sheets and more Q&A.

Treasury Department Releases Guidelines on Airline Industry Aid

Following Congress passing its 3rd emergency funding bill in response to the pandemic, the U.S. Treasury Department publicized its resources to assist eligible airline industry businesses, along with the deadlines for them to apply for payroll support to enable the continued payment of employee wages, salaries, and benefits, and for loans. 

CDC: Coping with the Stress During this Crisis 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) continue to provide useful information about the COVID-19 coronavirus, best practices to prevent the spread of the virus, and how to cope with the crisis.
The CDC notes that everyone reacts differently to stressful situations and how you respond to this outbreak can depend on a number of factors. Some communities, such as older people with chronic diseases, children and teens, first responders, and others, may respond more strongly to the stress.
On its website the CDC highlights things you can do to help support yourself.
  1. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  2. Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  3. Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  4. Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Visit the CDC’s “Stress and Coping” webpage to learn more about support for parents, first responders, and those quarantined during this crisis.

Assisting U.S. Citizens and Permanent Legal Residents Abroad

Good news. Every day, hundreds of Americans are being evacuated and brought back home. The COVID-19 coronavirus global pandemic has left stranded many Americans abroad. If you need assistance in this regard, please call my Hawai‘i office at (808) 541-1986 and leave a message or email me at TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov.
In the meantime, please visit the State Department website and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to assist in moving the process forward. 
We are regularly checking messages and will follow up with you. If you are unable to leave a message due to the large volume of calls we are fielding, please try back again as we want to be sure to connect with you.

COVID-19 Hawai‘i News

Testing in Hawai‘i — To date, there are 224 individuals in Hawai‘i who have tested positive for COVID-19. There were 20 new cases since yesterday. We continue to see some of the sharpest, daily increases in cases over the past few days.
Increased testing will help us get a better picture of where we stand in our fight against the spread of the virus and where our limited public health resources are most urgently needed as well as what additional precautions may be necessary to help halt its spread.
Hawai‘i Department of Health Launches “Stay Healthy, Stay at Home” Campaign — From March 30 through July 31, HI DOH will be promoting the “Stay Healthy, Stay at Home” campaign — using local humor to empower residents with simple actions they can take to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19. The effort will be advertised through KHON2, iHeart Media, and in Honolulu Star Advertiser print and digital platforms.
Maui MEDB to Fund Locally Manufactured Ventilators — Local companies, Maui Innovation Group and HNu Photonics, are receiving support from the Maui Economic Development Board for the emergency production of ventilators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is part of a nationwide effort to marshal the manufacturing capabilities of large and small businesses alike to meet our medical supply needs and make sure they are accessible to communities across the country.
Maui Partners with Local Businesses in Food Distribution Effort — Yesterday, the County of Maui partnered with Pukalani Superette and Sysco Hawaii to provide bags of produce to 300 families in Upcountry Maui. Agencies and businesses who wish to partner in relief efforts are encouraged to contact the Office of the Mayor at (808) 270-7855.
Kaua‘i’s County Talks Services During the COVID-19 Crisis — Public access to the DMV is closed until further notice, but in the county’s latest video update, they provided responses to some of their most common questions regarding how residents can address DMV issues.
The County of Kaua‘i also noted that it is absorbing any and all fees associated with online payments through the Hawai‘i Information Consortium including motor vehicle registration renewals, real property tax payments, and sewer payments.

And remember...

The federal income tax filing date has been postponed. The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced today that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax. Read more at IRS.gov ...
Learn more about IRS actions during the pandemic: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.
Hawaiian Electric announced on March 17, 2020 that it will suspend service disconnections for 30 days so customers who are financially challenged by the coronavirus pandemic don't have to worry about losing electric service. Read more at HawaiianElectric.com …

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