04/15/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

April 15, 2020
I hope you will join me today for my tele-town hall meeting at 4:00 p.m. HST to update you on the latest COVID-19 pandemic developments. Also joining the call will be military base commanders in Hawai‘i to talk about how the military, servicemembers, and military families are being impacted by the crisis.
If you have not already signed up to receive a telephone invitation to the town hall, you can listen to it live online by going to my website at gabbard.house.gov/live.
Yesterday, I joined U.S. SBA Hawai‘i District Director Jane Sawyer and local business leaders for a “Save Hawai‘i Jobs and Businesses” Webinar to talk about the Federal effort to help local businesses get through the pandemic. You can view a recording of the webinar on YouTube.
Keep scrolling down for national and local updates! 
If 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)

IRS Launches “Get My Payment” App Today!

Today, the IRS launched its “Get My Payment” App webpage to assist individuals in tracking down and receiving their COVID-19 Economic Impact Payment made possible by the CARES Act passed by Congress at the end of March. You can visit the webpage, https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment, to use the app. Last week, the IRS also set up a webpage for non-filers to help claim their Economic Impact Payment.

New FEMA Funds Available to States That Apply By April 28

The Department of Homeland Security and FEMA are announcing the funding notice for an additional $100 million in supplemental Emergency Management Performance Grant Program funds through the CARES Act. The state of Hawaii must submit the application by April 28. The funds are used to assist state governments in their public health and emergency management activities supporting prevention of and response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

New Joint Effort Creates Borrower Protection Program

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced the Borrower Protection Program, a new joint initiative that enables CFPB and FHFA to share servicing information to protect borrowers during the coronavirus national emergency and improve the system by which complaints are registered and investigated.

Scientists Show 3-D Simulation of Coughing, Why Social Distancing, Masks Are Necessary

The CDC and our County governments have all emphasized the importance of wearing cloth mask coverings when outside your home. To emphasize this point, I wanted to share with you a New York Times article which provides a 3-D simulation of coughing, prepared by the Kyoto Institute of Technology, that demonstrates why social distancing is so important and the impact wearing a mask can have.

And remember...

The federal income tax filing and payment deadline has been postponed until July 15, 2020. 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 530 individuals in Hawai‘i who have tested positive for COVID-19. There were 13 new cases since yesterday. Of the 530 cases, 45 remain hospitalized and 359 have been released from isolation.
Hawai‘i Looks to Get $88.2 Million In Education Relief — The CARES Act provided support for the Education Stabilization Fund — $30.75 billion to support states’ K-12 and higher education systems in the coming months. The amounts each state will receive vary significantly, based largely on the share of Title I and Pell Grant students that attend school in each state. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that through this fund, Hawai‘i will receive $88.2 million — with $43.1 million to K-12 schools, $35 million to higher education institutions, and $10.1 million for the Governor’s office. These funds will go to school districts, colleges and universities, as well as the Governor for additional, discretionary emergency response spending.
New Hawai‘i DLIR Webpage to Check UI Claims — The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations launched a new website for claimants to check the status of their claims. In addition to the new website, the DLIR is trying to streamline the inquiries they are receiving by setting up three new e-mail accounts: dlir.ui.backdate@hawaii.gov for those who would like to have their claim backdated, dlir.ui.disqualified@hawaii.gov for those who have received correspondence indicating they are disqualified for UI, and dlir.ui.languageassistance@hawaii.gov for those who would like to request language assistance from the DLIR or UI purposes. You can learn more about this by visiting the DLIR’s webpage dedicated to navigating through COVID-19 related UI claims.
HAPPENING TODAY UNTIL 2 PM: Drive-Thru testing in Maui — Drive-thru testing for COVID-19 will take place in West Maui on Wednesday, April 15, along Honoapiilani Highway, beginning near Launiupoko Beach Park. Testing will be open to first responders and healthcare workers ONLY from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. They are asked to access the testing site using Kai Hele Ku Street. Testing for the general public will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will have a separate access point to the drive-thru.
Masks to Molokai, Drive-Thru Testing Postponed — Five hundred masks were delivered to Molokai General Hospital, 250 masks were delivered to police officers and 250 masks were delivered to American Medical Response. Meanwhile, drive-through COVID-19 testing on Molokai was postponed today because of concern about severe rain and thunderstorms. Organizers hope to resume testing on Thursday, April 16. Read the full bulletin from Maui County.
Masks Now Mandatory on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i — Today, Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed Emergency Order No. 2020-07 mandating O‘ahu residents wear non-medical grade face coverings while in public to further limit the transmission and spread of coronavirus. According to the Order, employees who work at Essential Businesses as provided in the Stay at Home Order, shall wear non-medical grade face coverings over their noses and mouths when engaged and interacting with customers and visitors of the Essential Business.
REMINDER: Drive-Thru Testing in Kona Tomorrow — As part of its twice-weekly screenings in Kona, the County of Hawai‘i COVID-19 Task Force along with Ali‘i Heath and the Premier Medical Group will be conducting drive-thru screenings/testings from 8:00 a.m. to 12noon tomorrow at the Keauhou Shopping Center. This clinic is free and open to the public.
Kaua‘i Talks Getting People Back to Work, Safely — After reiterating the mandatory face covering rule now in effect in the County, Kaua‘i announced that it is is planning a phased approach for people who cannot work from home to be able to get back to work in a safe, responsible manner — in a way that minimizes risk. To that end, Emergency Rule # 5 is being updated so that starting today, certain private construction activities and landscaping maintenance activities may resume, provided they comply with certain restrictions to ensure community safety and adherence to cloth face mask wearing rules. Listen to the announcement online for more details.

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