06/29/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

June 29, 2020
Over the weekend, we continued to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 infections — and, unfortunately, we saw our first reported COVID-19 related death since the beginning of May.
We cannot be complacent. We must continue to frequently wash our hands and tend to personal hygiene, maintain physical distancing, and continue to wear a cloth face mask that covers both your mouth and nose. We must do these things to help stop the backslide of infections and avoid the need to reintroduce stay-at-home measures.
We are all in this together!
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)

HHS Buys Drug That Helps Treat (But Not Cure or Prevent) COVID-19

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced an agreement to secure large supplies of the drug remdesivir for the United States from Gilead Sciences through September, allowing American hospitals to purchase the drug in amounts allocated by HHS and state health departments. HHS has secured more than 500,000 treatment courses of the drug for American hospitals through September.
Hospitals will receive the product shipped by AmerisourceBergen and will pay no more than Gilead’s Wholesale Acquisition Price (WAC), which amounts to approximately $3,200 per treatment course. Generally, patients do not pay directly for hospital-administered drugs like remdesivir; rather, for Medicare and most private insurers, the drug’s cost is incorporated into payments made by the insurer, such as Medicare paying for the drug through a diagnostic-related group.

VA Improves Access for Veterans During COVID-19 Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that it launched a digital COVID-19 screening tool to streamline Veteran access to medical care during the coronavirus pandemic. The tool, designed with Veteran and staff input, enables the screening of more than 10,000 people each day. Veterans, their caregivers, and VA health care employees can use this tool on their mobile phones before entering facilities. It takes less than a minute to complete and helps reduce wait times, lowers exposure risk and eases patient stress. It also helps Veterans gain confidence with increased digital interactions as part of their VA health care experience. Read the full announcement.

SBA Releases the Latest EIDL and PPP Numbers

As of June 27, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved 4,798,187 Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling $518,855,402,128. For Hawai‘i, 24,349 small businesses were approved for PPP loans totaling $2,492,401,915.
As of June 27, the SBA has approved 2,050,539 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) totaling $127,126,648,548. In Hawai‘i 13,079 small businesses were approved for these loans totaling $744,817,300.

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 Friday, there were a total of 34 new cases and 1 additional COVID-19 related death. There are currently 162 active cases in the state. To date, there are 900 individuals in Hawai‘i who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 900 cases, 18 have died, 111 required hospitalization and 722 have been released from isolation. There have been 90,577 diagnostic tests conducted as of today.
As a result of updated information, one case was removed from the counts.
Ala Moana Satellite City Hall reopens on July 1 — Due to a brief delay in relocation plans, the Ala Moana Satellite City Hall will reopen July 1 for in-person service. It will join the other eight satellite city halls across Oahu in serving customers on a strictly appointment-only basis. Customers can start making appointments today for in-person visits to satellite city halls. To make an online appointment for a satellite city hall or driver licensing center, visit www.alohaq.org.
O‘ahu Bus Driver Tests Positive for COVID-19, Precautions in Place — Over the weekend, a bus operator for TheBus has tested positive for coronavirus. The driver operated buses on several bus routes over the past week, but it is unknown how the employee came in contact with the virus. All the buses operated by this driver have been deeply cleaned and disinfected. Coworkers who may have come in close contact were individually notified of the positive test and are quarantining at home. In addition, all OTS employees have been notified via email of the positive test.
TheBus and TheHandi-Van have taken steps to reduce the risk of infection while riding or operating a transit vehicle. Plastic curtains have been installed on all buses to provide a barrier between drivers and passengers as they board. Seats closest to the operator have been made unavailable to provide greater space and extra buses have been added on busy routes to provide more area for physical separation. All buses and vans are disinfected daily by wiping down all touch surfaces manually with a strong anti-virus disinfectant and receive nightly disinfecting fogging using an electrostatic spraying system.
USDA Awards More than $90k for Farm to School Program — Today, the Hawai‘i Institute of Pacific Agriculture (HIP Ag) was awarded a Farm to School grant of $93,649 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. HIP Ag provides agriculture and nutrition education to students grades K‐12. The project funded by the grant will implement a viable supply chain solution for local farm to school initiatives in North Kohala, Hawai‘i County, and the State of Hawaii. The 10‐acre farm of market gardening and tropical agroforestry will serve as a classroom for education and supply Farm to School in Kohala with local produce. HIP Ag is helping HIDOE achieve Farm to School goals by building a network of local farmers in Kohala and working with them to increase their production and access to markets.
Mental Health Resources — The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has placed a lot of stress on our society, both individually and as a community. 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:
COVID-Related Resource Websites — 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)

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