06/02/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

June 2, 2020
I’ll be hosting my next telephone town hall tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. HST. On the call, I will be joined by guests Darin Leong, a labor and employment attorney who has worked with Hawai‘i community leaders to raise awareness about relief programs available to businesses and employees, as well as Sondra Leiggi-Brandon, APRN, and Anthony P. Guerrero, M.D., from The Queen’s Medical Center.
We will discuss the latest news about federal relief efforts to help Hawai‘i as well as the mental health stress faced by many during this public health crisis and what resources are available to help those in need.
If you have not done so already, you can visit my website to sign up for this and future tele-town hall events.
During these trying times, if there are any issues that we can assist you with, please don’t hesitate to 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)

HHS Funds to Help Expand Addiction Treatment Workforce in Underserved Communities

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $20.3 million to 44 recipients to increase the number of fellows at accredited addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry fellowship programs. During the COVID-19 public health crisis, medical resources have been stretched thin and access to addiction treatment has become more challenging. Added to that was the increased stress individuals faced from social isolation to economic strain and more which increased the risk of falling into addictive behaviors. These funds will help bolster the public health workforce needed to help those at risk in underserved communities across the country.

Passport Operations to Slowly, Safely Return to Normal

The U.S. Department of State issued an update regarding its passport operations to inform the public of the limitations placed on its workforce due to the COVID-19 public health crisis and the secure nature of passport request processing. In summary, the stay-at-home measures dictated by the public health response to COVID-19 limited the Department’s ability to process passport requests due to the sensitive nature of the documents involved — something that cannot be handled in a work-from-home capacity. Therefore, as the Department slowly and safely begins to reopen for regular work operations, passport processing will also slowly return to normal. To read more about the concerns, consideration, and process the Department envisions for reopening safely and returning to processing capacity, please visit its webpage on the subject.
Also, as the world adjusts to the COVID-19 pandemic, if you are considering travel abroad, please be sure to visit the Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program website to keep updated regarding alerts and advisories.

COVID-19 Hawai‘i News

Testing in Hawai‘i — Since yesterday, there was a total of 1 new case and 0 additional COVID-19 related deaths. To date, there are 653 individuals in Hawai‘i who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 653 cases, 17 have died, 83 required hospitalization and 609 have been released from isolation. There have been 56,569 diagnostic tests conducted as of today.
HHS Distributes Additional $250M to Help Healthcare Providers — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is providing an additional $250 million to aid U.S. health care systems treating patients and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. As authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This comes in addition to $100 million released through this program in April.
The funds will support hospitals and other health care entities to train workforces, expand telemedicine and the use of virtual healthcare, procure supplies and equipment, and coordinate effectively across regional, state and jurisdictional, and local health care facilities to respond to COVID-19. In addition to directly supporting health care capacity for COVID-19 patient surge.
As part of these funds, made possible by the CARES Act, Hawai‘i healthcare providers will receive $1.5 million
SBA Update: Latest PPP Numbers — As of May 30, the Small Business Administration has issued 4,475,599 Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling $510,234,498,923. Of that, 23,416 Hawai‘i small businesses have been awarded loans totaling $2,450,574,225.
Honolulu Pools Start Limited Reopening This Week — The Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation is reopening its public pools for lap swimming beginning Friday, June 5. City pools will operate on their regular schedules, which is largely determined by available staff particularly pool lifeguards. DPR is still hiring for these part-time positions, and for the first time 16 and 17-year-olds are able to be employed to work in these positions. With physical distancing guidelines in place, certain procedures will be implemented to ensure safe and fair access to City pool facilities. Read the full announcement for more details.
Big Island Compiles COVID-19 Informational Videos — As the COVID-19 public health crisis emerged and continued, several federal, state, and local resources announced through informational videos. The County of Hawai‘i has compiled over a dozen of these videos for residents to reference which include tips on how to help prevent the spread of the virus as well as prepare for reopening safely.
COVID-19 and Hurricane Preparedness — Even though we continue to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and public health crisis, hurricane season is here and it pays to be prepared — and necessary to consider the impact of COVID-19 precautions and conditions when ensuring you are prepared should a hurricane hit. Please visit the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency website to get started and get prepared.
Kaua‘i Emergency Rule # 11 Now in Effect — As the County of Kaua‘i continues to reopen safely, Mayor Kawakami’s Emergency Rule # 11 has been approved by the Governor and has gone into effect. From indoor exercising facilities to dine-in opportunities at restaurants, the County looks to safely reopen. To get more information about what this means for businesses and the community, view the rule online here.
Upcoming Food Distribution — Here are details regarding upcoming food distribution events:
  • Waikoloa | Waikoloa Elementary & Middle School | Friday, June 5 | 10am, until food supply is depleted. Please arrive early.

Testing Sites, Mental Health Resources, and 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).
St. Jude Church
Wed., June 3 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
Mental Health Resources — The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has placed a lot of stress on our society, both individually and as a community. These stresses range from physical health dangers and complications to the economic strain that many face due to stay-at-home measures that have impacted businesses and workers. These may also have significant mental health impacts on you or someone you know. The best thing to do is to be aware of what the warning signs are and what resources are available to help.
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.
General Website
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

Office Locations