05/20/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

May 20, 2020
At 4:00 p.m. today, I’ll be hosting a telephone town hall and will be joined by Shawna Lamonthe and Gayviel James from the IRS to answer some frequently asked questions about coronavirus relief.
Also joining the call will be Dr. Scott Miscovich who has been at the forefront of testing efforts across the state. He will answer questions and help explain the role testing plays in reopening our state safely.
I’ll also discuss new coronavirus legislation that I voted on and was passed by the House last week.
If you are already signed up for the tele-town hall, you will get a call from me around 4:00 p.m.  If you have not signed up, you can listen to the tele-town hall live online by going to my website, gabbard.house.gov/live.
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)

USDA CFAP Goes Live on May 26, Learn How to Complete the Application Today

Beginning May 26, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be accepting applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will provide direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. You can learn more about the program on the USDA’s CFAP webpage. In order to help prepare people for the application, the USDA also released a video tutorial for people on how to complete the application and use the payment calculator.

SNAP Online Purchasing to Cover 90% of Households

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that households in 13 new states will soon be able to purchase food online with their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The new states include Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. Once operational, online purchasing will be available in 36 states and the District of Columbia, home to more than 90% of SNAP participants.

HHS Reminds Healthcare Providers of Upcoming Deadline for Additional Relief

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is reminding eligible providers that they have until June 3, 2020, to accept the Terms and Conditions and submit their revenue information to receive an additional payment from the Provider Relief Fund’s $50 billion General Distribution. All providers who automatically received an additional General Distribution payment prior to 5:00 pm, Friday, April 24th, must provide HHS with an accounting of their annual revenues by submitting tax forms or financial statements. These providers must also agree to the program Terms and Conditions if they wish to keep the funds. Providers who have cases pending before the department for adjudication with regard to eligibility for general distribution funding will not be impacted by this closure. All cases needing individual adjudication will need to be received by HHS no later than June 3, 2020.

COVID-19 Hawai‘i News

Testing in Hawai‘i — Since yesterday, there were 2 new cases and 0 additional COVID-19 related deaths. To date, there are 643 individuals in Hawai‘i who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 643 cases, 17 have died and 82 remain hospitalized and 578 have been released from isolation. There have been 47,383 lab tests conducted as of today.
HHS Sends More Money to Rural Health Clinics for COVID-19 Testing — Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided $225 million to Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) for COVID-19 testing. These investments will support over 4,500 RHCs across the country to support COVID-19 testing efforts and expand access to testing in rural communities. This funding is through the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act which Congress passed at the end of April. Through this distribution, 11 rural health clinics in Hawai‘i received $544,076.
Social Security Offices Still Closed, But Phone Lines Open — The Social Security Administration (SSA) notes that all Social Security offices are still closed to the public for face-to-face service during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the SSA is still able to provide critical services via phone, fax, and online at www.socialsecurity.gov. If calling a local SSA office, residents are instructed to be sure to call the one in their own area for assistance. You can locate your SSA office — including the hours and phone number — using the office locator tool on the SSA’s website. The SSA has offices located in Honolulu, Kapolei, Wailuku, Hilo, and Līhuʻe.
Governor Outlines Plan to Reopen — This week, Gov. David Ige announced his plan for the gradual reopening of the state and issued his 8th supplemental emergency proclamation, extending the 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving in the State of Hawai‘i, as well as for inter-island travelers through June 30. The governor also extended through June 30 the eviction moratorium that prevents evictions from residential dwellings for failure to pay rent. Gov. Ige unveiled the re-opening and recovery plan for the State of Hawai‘i — a strategy that conveys the coordinated, statewide approach to jumpstarting the economy and recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. According to the plan – the state will start to gradually re-open medium-risk businesses and operations beginning in June – assuming the state’s COVID-19 activity remains manageable. The re-opening of high-risk businesses and operations will eventually follow, as long as Hawai‘i’s disease activity continues to remain manageable.
REOPENING REMINDER: O‘ahu Guidelines for Essential and Designated Businesses — In preparation for its gradual, safe reopening, the City and County of Honolulu published guidance for stores and businesses who are operating in the City and County of Honolulu. It is drawn from best practices guidance from a variety of sources including: the Hawaii State Department of Health, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research institutions, and municipalities from across the United States.  The guidance below is mandated in part in Governor Ige’s Seventh Supplementary Proclamation and in part in Mayor Caldwell’s Emergency Order 2020-10 Ho‘oulu i Honolulu. Read the full guidelines here.
The Challenge of Child Care and Reopening — As the state slowly begins to reopen safely, and people start returning to work, one of the challenges many parents may face is securing child care for their keiki — especially with COVID-19 precautions limiting capacity. Among the County of Hawai‘i’s online resources is a dashboard that highlights child care services. Click here to view the webpage.
SNAP Helps Meet Food Needs During COVID-19 Crisis — The immense pressure the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on families over the past months is being felt in a number of ways — from lost wages or changed working conditions to struggles to keep up with the rent or mortgage, and more. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program that is operated locally through the Hawai‘i Department of Human Services office of Benefit, Employment, and Support Services. The program provides crucial food and nutritional support to qualifying low-income and needy households, including during this public health crisis. You can visit the state’s SNAP webpage focused on COVID-19 relief efforts for more information.

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).
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