04/03/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

April 3, 2020
The coronavirus crisis is impacting so many of our families and friends in different ways — not just across the country, but also within Hawai‘i. In the past weeks, I have sent letters to the Administration and Congressional leadership calling for a halt to all foreclosure and eviction proceedings, and urging support for SNAP and WIC
As we look to the next emergency funding bill, I am urging Congress to address the needs of farmers, ranchers, military families, rural communities, those living paycheck to paycheck, and the communities that rely on the tourism industry for their livelihoods.
I will continue to fight to make sure no one falls through the cracks as we push through this pandemic together.
I urge you to visit my COVID-19 resources webpage which continues to be updated with new information that may be of help to you.
I and my team are available to serve you 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.
Mahalo and be well,
Tulsi Gabbard
Member of Congress (HI-02)

Get A Call About Upcoming Tele-Town Halls

Our next tele-town hall event is set for next Wednesday. You can sign up by Tuesday, April 7th to get a call at the start of our tele-town halls by going to my website at gabbard.house.gov/connect/telephone-townhalls.  Or you can call in yourself on Wednesday at the number below. 
Telephone Town Hall | COVID-19 Update # 4
Wednesday, April 8 at 4:00 p.m. Hawai‘i Time
directly join by calling (888) 476-4187 at that time

CDC Recommends Wearing Cloth Masks in Public Settings

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced its recommendation that individuals wear cloth face coverings in public settings — especially those where social distancing is difficult to maintain such as grocery stores and pharmacies and areas of significant community-based transmission. The CDC makes the recommendation based on evolving knowledge of the COVID-19 coronavirus, particularly new findings that many individuals who are infected — and can spread the virus — may not show symptoms and that even in the pre-symptomatic stage, individuals can be contagious.

HUD Relief for Single Family Homeowners and Funds for Hawai‘i

Starting April 1, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that mortgage servicers must extend deferred or reduced mortgage payment options (forbearance) for up to six months, and must provide an additional six months of forbearance if requested by borrowers with a financial hardship that makes them unable to pay their mortgage due to the COVID-19 National Emergency. This mandate implements provisions contained in the landmark Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). You can read more details in the Department’s full announcement.
Through Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Hawai‘i was awarded the following funds in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
  • Hawai‘i County — $1,543,033
  • Kaua‘i County — $412,929
  • Maui County — $1,104,173
  • Honolulu — $4,872,982
These funds will help construct medical facilities, expand capacity of hospitals, replace HVAC systems, support business manufacturing medical supplies, construct a group living facility, and carry out job training of health care workers and technicians.
Additionally, Honolulu is receiving $95,143 through HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS) as well as $2,429,569 through Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) as part of the CARES Act. ESG funds support the building and operations of more emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families, provide hotel/motel vouchers, childcare and education services, and prevent individuals from becoming homeless.

Dept. of Transportation Says Airlines Must Refund Cancelled Flights

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued an Enforcement Notice clarifying that that U.S. and foreign airlines remain obligated to provide a prompt refund to passengers for flights to, within, or from the United States when the carrier cancels the passenger’s scheduled flight or makes a significant schedule change and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier. There are exceptions, but the full details can be read in the Department’s notice.

CDC Guidance for Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare professionals and first responders are on the front lines of the fight against this pandemic. While we are learning more about the virus and the effectiveness of the measures we have and continue to put into place to help prevent the spread of the disease, these critical workers remain in the line of fire to help ensure our public health and safety. To this end, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put together a comprehensive section on its website with updated guidance for these professionals. In addition to updated guidance, the webpage has links to resources such as:
  • What Healthcare Providers Should Know
  • Frequently Asked Questions for Healthcare Providers
  • Information for Healthcare Providers: COVID-19 and Pregnant Women
  • COVID-19 and Underlying Medical Conditions

And remember...

The federal income tax filing date has been postponed. Learn more about what the IRS is doing during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 Hawai‘i News

Testing in Hawai‘i — To date, there are 319 individuals in Hawai‘i who have tested positive for COVID-19. There were 34 new cases since yesterday. We continue to see some of the sharpest, daily increases over the past few days. Of the 319 cases, 18 remain hospitalized and 78 have been released from isolation.
Blood Donations Needed We currently face a shortage of blood donations. O‘ahu residents can leave their homes to donate blood, and the Blood Bank of Hawai‘i has created a safe donation environment to collect the necessary blood to sustain our community. Donating requires an appointment. To make an appointment or to learn more call (808) 848-4770 or visit bbh.org/covid-19/.
HI Board of Education Approves DOE Modifying Graduation Requirements — Hawai‘i’s Board of Education unanimously voted today to approve the HI Department of Education’s request to modify high school graduation and commencement requirements under Board Policy 102-15 for the graduating class of 2020. This approval means the Department will be able to move forward with finalizing a graduation plan that principals, complex area and state leadership have been developing over the past two weeks.
The plan recommends utilizing grades from the third quarter, which ended March 13, to determine the final grade for student courses. The full plan will be released early next week pending a final review and approval by Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto.
Drive-Thru Testing in Honolulu Saturday, Sunday — Dr. Scott Miscovich and the Premier Medical Group are conducting more rounds of drive-thru testing this weekend — Saturday and Sunday — at two pop-up sites. The hours of testing will be from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. at both locations.
On Saturday, April 4, the testing site will be at Waipiʻo Peninsula Soccer Complex, 93-061 Waipiʻo Point Access Road, Waipahu, off Farrington Highway. Follow the signs posted on Waipiʻo Point Access Road to the Soccer Complex where you will be directed to the initial screening site.
On Sunday, April 5, testing will occur at Kakaʻako Waterfront Park near Ala Moana Boulevard, with initial screening beginning at the corner of Ilalo and Cooke Streets. Drivers should access the screening station via Ilalo Street at the corner of Ala Moana Boulevard and Ward Avenue. 
Twice-Weekly Testing Starts Now on the Big Island — From now until further notice, the County of Hawai‘i COVID-19 Task Force along with Ali ‘i Heath and the Premier Medical Group will be conducting twice-weekly drive-thru screenings/testings in Kona.
The testing clinic will operate Mondays and Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12noon and is located at the Keauhou Shopping Center.
Read the full announcement for more details including screening criteria and requirements. These free clinics are open to the public.
Maui Mobilizes to Help Farmers, Distribute Food — Yesterday, the County of Maui rolled out a new farmer assistance and food distribution program to help farmers and community members impacted by COVID-19. The County of Maui is committing $30,000 per week to Maui County Farm Bureau and Hawaii Farmers Union United, for the next four to five weeks, to purchase food from local farmers and facilitate community distribution.
Kaua‘i Businesses Get Support Through CARES Act — Among other new developments stemming from our passing of the CARES Act in Congress (the third emergency funding bill to respond to the coronavirus crisis) the County of Kaua‘i highlighted the resources available to businesses which they have organized on their Office of Economic Development’s webpage.

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