06/12/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

June 12, 2020
Starting on Monday, I’ll be reporting for a week of duty in the Hawai‘i Army National Guard. While I am on duty, my office will continue to act on my behalf — handling casework, engaging our local community leaders, and keeping you informed of the latest developments in Congress and Hawaiʻi. While I won’t be sending you these newsletters myself, my staff will send you brief updates on my behalf.
When I return the following week, I look forward to reconnecting with you and will be hosting a virtual town hall on Thursday, June 25 at 4:00 p.m. on Facebook.
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)

Are You Headed Back to Work? OSHA Has Answers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s website includes a handy website dedicated to frequently asked questions that workers and employers may have as the country reopens and businesses slowly — but safely — get back to normal operations.

VA Telehealth Use Skyrockets During COVID-19 Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today telehealth video appointments using VA Video Connect increased from approximately 10,000 to 120,000 appointments a week between February and May of 2020. This is attributed to VA providers and Veterans taking precautions against COVID-19. VA Video Connect allows Veterans and their caregivers to meet virtually with their VA care teams on any computer, tablet, or mobile device with an internet connection. Read more about this on the VA’s website.

HHS Issues Guidance on Blood & Plasma Donations by Former COVID-19 Patients

Today, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidance on how the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule permits covered health care providers to contact their patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to inform them about how they can donate their blood and plasma containing antibodies to help other patients with COVID-19. Read more about this in the full announcement.

COVID-19 Hawai‘i News & Resources

For a listing of federal and state resources on my website, which includes several of the ones listed below, please visit gabbard.house.gov/COVID-19.
Testing in Hawai‘i — Since yesterday, there were a total of 15 new cases (10 of which are in one family) and 0 additional COVID-19 related deaths. To date, there are 706 individuals in Hawai‘i who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 706 cases, 17 have died, 87 required hospitalization and 627 have been released from isolation. There have been 68,738 diagnostic tests conducted as of today.
As a result of updated testing information, one case was removed from the counts.
UI questions? PUA Overpayment? DLIR and PUA FAQs — The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations continues to update its website of frequently asked questions that people have had when filing for or receiving their Unemployment Insurance claims. You can visit their website for more information. What happens if you work for Lyft, Grub Hub, or similar companies, is PUA for you? What if you get a PUA overpayment? The PUA website’s help webpage provides some answers.
Haleakalā National Park Year-Long Internship — Applications are now being accepted for the 2020-2021 E Ola Koa (Hawaiian for “live like the koa tree”) year-long internship program tentatively starting in October 2020. Desired applicants are recent college graduates or are students currently enrolled working toward a degree. Haleakalā National Park interns work in the following programs: Wildlife Management, Vegetation Management, and Interpretation and Education. Read more and get the application on the NPS website.
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.
Hawai‘i Food Pantries and Assistance Programs — Visit these sites for more information about statewide and local food pantries as well as food assistance programs:
Testing, Safely Reopening, Supporting Recovery — As the state increasingly moves forward with its reopening efforts, the state as well as local communities are organizing resources to help people learn more about what’s available in their community. In addition to listing the State and County COVID-19 news and resource websites, here are some new or updated websites that focus on recovery efforts.
State of Hawai‘i
COVID-19 Updates (https://hawaiicovid19.com/)
Unemployment Insurance (https://huiclaims.hawaii.gov/)
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (http://pua.hawaii.gov/)
NEW: Economic & Community Recovery Navigator (https://recoverynavigator.hawaii.gov/)
County of Kaua‘i
NEW: Kūpa‘a Kaua‘i Website (https://kauaiforward.com/)
City and County of Honolulu
One O‘ahu Website (https://www.oneoahu.org/) *news & recovery info
County of Maui
COVID-19 Updates (https://www.covid19mauinui.com/) * news & recovery info
County of Hawai‘i
COVID-19 Updates (website) * news & recovery info
Testing Dates/Sites (located on its FAQ webpage)

Office Locations