06/18/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

June 18, 2020
Aloha from the office of U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard!
As you may have heard, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving on active duty orders with the Hawai‘i Army National Guard this week to fulfill her annual duty requirement. 
While she is on military orders, we will continue sending you these Coronavirus-related updates on her behalf. We are continuing to work on behalf of residents across Hawaiʻi through individual constituent casework and coordination with authorities, as well as working in Washington, D.C. to bring resources and support to the people of Hawai‘i.
So if you are in need of assistance, please call us at (808) 541-1986 or email TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov.
-Office of U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)

VA Uses Tele-Town Halls to Provide Updates on Services

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has reached more than one million Veterans and family members through telephone town hall meetings held with states across the country. The briefings include updates about VA’s response to COVID-19 and the GI Bill along with the launch of Blue Water Navy Act, Solid Start program, and other new initiatives to include the Veterans Benefits Banking Program — helping Veterans to understand and access all services and benefits earned. You can view upcoming events on the VA’s website.

HHS Awards Funds to Strengthen Health Workforce

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced awards totaling $107.2 million to 310 recipients to increase the health workforce in rural and underserved communities. Recipients across 45 states and U.S. territories received funding to improve the quality, distribution and diversity of health professionals serving across the country. These programs provide financial and professional support to physicians, faculty, dentists, nurses, and students as they pursue careers in health care settings. Awardees will be able to develop and retain clinicians in high-need areas to meet the vital health needs of the most disadvantaged communities.

NIH Gathers COVID-19 Data to Help Fight Virus Spread

The National Institutes of Health has launched a centralized, secure enclave to store and study vast amounts of medical record data from people diagnosed with coronavirus disease across the country. It is part of an effort, called the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C), to help scientists analyze these data to understand the disease and develop treatments. This effort aims to transform clinical information into knowledge urgently needed to study COVID-19, including health risk factors that indicate better or worse outcomes of the disease, and identify potentially effective treatments. Read more on the NIH’s website.

COVID-19 Hawai‘i News & Resources

For a listing of federal and state resources on the Congresswoman’s 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 18 new cases and 0 additional COVID-19 related deaths. To date, there are 762 individuals in Hawai‘i who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 762 cases, 17 have died, 95 required hospitalization and 640 have been released from isolation. There have been 76,340 diagnostic tests conducted as of today.
Public Libraries Resume Computer Access — Starting June 17, 2020, limited computer access is available by reservation in 48 of the 51 library branches. Library staff will wear masks and gloves and practice social distancing. Equipment will be cleaned between each 60-minute session. Temporary hours and locations may change in future weeks based on current public health conditions. Get more details and make your reservation on the Hawai‘i State Public Library System website.
Haleakalā National Park to Begin Reopening — Beginning Saturday, June 20, 2020 the Summit District of Haleakalā National Park will reopen for sunrise viewing through the sunrise reservation system on Recreation.gov. The National Park Service (NPS) is following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, as it continues to increase recreational access and services. Get more information about what is open, when, and how to reserve your spot by visiting the NPS website.
PUC Continues to Evaluate Young Brothers Services — The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has impacted Young Brothers interisland shipping company which has faced financial losses due to the economic downturn that accompanied the public health crisis and the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission (PUC) continues to monitor the company’s financial health. The shipper had requested $25 million in CARES Act emergency assistance but the ongoing financial hardship has forced it to consider means of reducing operating expenses to cope. The company had planned to suspend mixed cargo shipping and loads that are less than a full container, but news reports that it has put that decision on hold after feedback from the community.
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 local and statewide 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)
This message was sent by the Office of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard in compliance with guidance provided by the Committee on House Administration and the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard. The use of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Hawai‘i Army National Guard or the Department of Defense.

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