05/18/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

 
May 18, 2020
 
Aloha,
 
Just got back to Hawai‘i yesterday after going to Washington, D.C. last week to vote for the HEROES Act as well as to allow for the option of proxy voting during the coronavirus crisis. While there are gaping holes in the HEROES Act, like leaving out a monthly direct payment to every American, it did tackle some huge, immediate needs — resources for our state and local governments, resources for testing and tracing, as well as more support for small businesses. 
 
Here are some updates below!
 
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)
 

Wednesday Tele-Town Hall with Dr. Miscovich and IRS

 
The Internal Revenue Service will be providing an update during my next tele-town hall where I will also be joined by Dr. Scott Miscovich to help answer questions about testing and reopening the state safely. I will also talk about the HEROES Act which was passed by the House on Friday. You can sign up for this and upcoming tele-town hall meetings by visiting my website today!
 
Telephone Town Hall | COVID-19 Update # 10
Wednesday, May 20 at 4:00 p.m. Hawai‘i Time
 

IRS Creates Phone Line for EIP Questions

 
The IRS is establishing a special phone line for taxpayers with questions about their Economic Impact Payments (EIP).  That number is (800) 919-9835, which is the number reflected on the notice mailed to taxpayers who receive an EIP. The phone line is meant to help address some of the common questions people have about the EIPs. Many questions can also be answered online by visiting the IRS webpage for Frequently Asked Questions about the EIP.
 

VA Reintroducing Health Care Services at Select, Lead Sites Today

 
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie announced the VA will begin to reintroduce health care services in select VA facilities today as states begin to reopen from COVID-19 shutdowns. Each Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) has selected Lead Sites to be the first to implement a phased approach to reintroducing select health care services while ensuring a safe environment. The lessons learned from these initial sites will help to inform how other facilities plan for expanding services in their facilities.
 
The Lead Site for Hawai‘i’s VA facilities is Reno VA in Nevada. In the meantime, at Hawai‘i's Matsunaga VA Clinic, screening for all visitors is still being conducted. Temperatures will be taken at the Ambulatory Care Center and all CBOC entrances for everyone who enters these facilities system wide. All care is still being conducted but veterans are encouraged to consider using the VA’s Telehealth and virtual care options like VA Video Connect. Clinical staff are available to provide Veterans with virtual care and support, including nurse advice and triage.
 

Program to Help Veterans at Risk of Homelessness Due to COVID-19

 
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today a new initiative requesting the public to make donations to help provide emergency relief and facilitate remote access to health care for Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals and organizations are asked to donate essential items such as nonperishables to  combat food insecurity and new mobile phones to enable Veterans to access VA telehealth services. Monetary donations will also be accepted to help Veterans pay for security deposits for living arrangements to prevent homelessness.
 

From the Frontlines: CDC Shares Responder Stories

 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a webpage dedicated to sharing the stories of healthcare workers and support staff on the frontlines of the COVID-19 coronavirus public health crisis. The webpage shares the stories of these responders and paints a picture of the effort being made in communities across the country to help contain the spread of the virus.
 

COVID-19 Hawai‘i News

 
Testing in Hawai‘i — Over the weekend through today, there were 2 new cases and 0 additional COVID-19 related deaths. To date, there are 640 individuals in Hawai‘i who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 640 cases, 17 have died and 82 remain hospitalized and 574 have been released from isolation. There have been 45,023 lab tests conducted as of today’s report.
 
Maui Mayor Outlines Plans for CARES Act Funds — Last week, Mayor Michael Victorino sent a budget amendment for $67 million in federal CARES Act funding to the County Council. About a third of the CARES Act funding is planned to provide community support such as grants for households, small businesses and childcare. This includes supporting existing programs such as the Hawaii Emergency Laulima Partnership (HELP), Micro Business Loan Program and the Farmers Relief program. Additional funds are planned for public safety, property acquisition, recovery initiatives, equipment and construction, and administrative costs.
 
Honolulu Launches Individual Hardship Relief Program with CARES Act Funds — Today, the City and County of Honolulu launched the COVID-19 Household Hardship Relief Program with $25 Million in CARES Act funds designed to support households economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Oʻahu residents can reach out to one of our non-profit community partners to apply directly beginning May 18, 2020 — the Aloha United Way or the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. Click here for the program’s website.
 
Honolulu Launches Small Biz Relief and Recovery Fund — The City and County of Honolulu launched a fund to reimburse small businesses for costs incurred from business interruption due to Emergency Proclamations and help small businesses implement safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The program offers one-time reimbursement for expenses up to $10,000 to each qualified business that have less than $1,000,000 in gross annual revenue and 30 or fewer employees. Read more about the program and how to apply here.
 
Maui DMV to Start Phase 1 Reopening — The County of Maui Department of Finance announced today the first phase of reopening of its Division of Motor Vehicle and Licensing offices for limited walk-in services beginning Monday, May 18, 2020. All DMV locations will be open for limited services from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Social distancing rules must be followed, including wearing face coverings. Entry into the DMV Office at the Maui Mall will be limited to the customer unless the accompanying person is required for the transaction, rendering aid or assistance. Read the full announcement for more details.
 
Kaua‘i DMV and Food Distribution News — During Friday’s daily video update, Mayor Kawakami outlined the hours and conditions under which the County’s Department of Motor Vehicles is reopening and assisting residents. Masks must be worn and social distancing protocols are in effect. He also reminded residents of the County’s continued food distribution effort. Past events have distributed food at Vidinha Stadium and Hanapēpē Neighborhood Center. Upcoming distributions include:
 
  • Sat., May 23 at the Bryan Baptiste Kapa‘a Ballpark
  • Sat., May 30 on the North Shore
 

Testing Sites and DLIR UI Information

 
Hawai‘i Island
Check out the County of Hawai‘i’s COVID-19 webpage for which lists over a dozen testing sites which are regularly open (see schedules).
 
Pāhoa District Park
Wed., May 20 ONLY, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
15-3022 Kauhale Street, Pāhoa 96778
 
St. Jude Church
Wed., May 20 ONLY, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
92-8606 Paradise Circle, Ocean View 96737
 
Maui County
While no drive-thru testing sites have been announced yet for tomorrow, you can visit the County’s website for other testing sites on Maui, Moloka‘i, and Lānaʻi.
 
City and County of Honolulu
No testing sites have been announced, but you can check out the City and County of Honolulu’s dedicated COVID-19 information webpage.
 
Kaua‘i County
 
Daily @ Wilcox Medical Center 
Monday-Friday @ Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital
 
Kapa‘a | Details (video update, 5:45 mark)
Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Kaua‘i Medical Clinic
 
Unemployment Insurance Compensation Claims — Here is a rundown of the new resources that the Hawai‘i Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) is making available to assist individuals filing unemployment insurance compensation claims.
 
As of May 11, 2020, the DLIR is using an alphabetical system for filing unemployment insurance claims to help ease the strain on its system and streamline the process. Those whose last name starts with the letters:
 
  • A through G should file on Mondays.
  • H through O should file on Tuesdays.
  • P through Z should file on Wednesdays.
 
If you missed your day, everyone can file on Thursdays through Sunday.
 
The hours to file are Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. On weekends and holidays, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
 
General Website
Application for Determination of Insured Status
Unemployment Benefits Claim Status
 
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
 
Newly Out of Work Unemployment Claim: (808) 762- 5752
If You Have Filed Unemployment Before: (808) 762-5751
Unemployment Office Call Center: (833) 901-2275
 
O‘ahu Claims Office: ​dlir.ui.oahu@hawaii.gov
Hilo Claims Office: dlir.ui.hilo@hawaii.gov
Kona Claims Office: dlir.ui.kona@hawaii.gov
Maui Claims Office: dlir.ui.maui@hawaii.gov
Kaua‘i Claims Office: dlir.ui.kauai@hawaii.gov
 
Individuals who would like to have their claim backdated (the backdate will be for their first week of less than full employment due to COVID-19): dlir.ui.backdate@hawaii.gov
 
Individuals who have received an email, letter or other message (screenshot) that says that they are disqualified from UI:​ ​dlir.ui.disqualified@hawaii.gov
 
Individuals who would like to request language assistance from UI (the interpretation services would be provided free of charge and via telephone): dlir.ui.languageassistance@hawaii.gov
 

Office Locations