07/07/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

 
July 7, 2020
 
Aloha,
 
With 41 new positive COVID-19 cases today, we’ve reached the highest number of new infections in a single day for Hawai‘i since this pandemic hit our shores. We cannot let our guard down — we must continue to practice good hygiene including frequently washing your hands, physically distancing, and wearing a cloth face covering that covers your nose and mouth if you must venture out. Remember, your mask protects those around you and their masks protect you. We are all in this together!
 
I also want to remind small business owners that last week in Congress, we passed a bill to extend the lending deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program.  The new deadline is now August 8 and small businesses who have yet to apply should do so before then. You can visit the Small Business Administration’s website (www.sba.gov) for more information about this and other programs. For more information about PPP loans and the extended deadline, visit the SBA’s PPP webpage.
 
We will be talking about this and more about the COVID-19 crisis during my next telephone town hall tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. HST. Read on for more details!
 
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)
 

Telephone Town Hall Tomorrow

 
Want to hear the latest news on what is happening nationally and locally related to Coronavirus? Join me for my next tele-town hall tomorrow. Dr. Scott Miscovich and employment and labor law attorney Darin Leong will be joining me to discuss the surge in COVID-19 infections, our testing and tracing efforts, and emergency assistance for small businesses and workers.
 
You can listen to my recent COVID-19 tele-town halls or sign up for upcoming events by visiting my website today!
 
Telephone Town Hall | COVID-19 Update # 15
Wednesday, July 8 at 4:00 p.m. Hawai‘i Time
 

HHS Responds to COVID-19 Surge With Increased Testing

 
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is announcing free COVID-19 testing in Jacksonville, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Edinburg, Texas. Surge testing efforts will temporarily increase federal support to communities where there has been a recent and intense level of new cases and hospitalizations related to the ongoing outbreak. The three jurisdictions identified are seeing significant increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and could potentially benefit from additional opportunities to identify new cases, especially for people who are asymptomatic. HHS, in partnership with eTrueNorth and each of the local communities, will perform surge testing by offering 5,000 tests per-city per-day, at no charge to those tested. The temporary surge testing sites will be live anywhere from five to 12 days.  Across the nation, the largest increases in COVID-19 positivity rates continue to be in the 18 to 29 age group; however, there are also upticks in young people under 18 and in people aged 30 to 39.
 

VA Launches REACH to Help Prevent Suicide

 
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today launched a national public health campaign to help all Americans play a bigger role in helping prevent suicide. The REACH program and website provides information to help people recognize risk factors for suicide, including financial stress, chronic illness or pain, isolation and mental illness, in themselves and in their loved ones. It also links to resources that can provide assistance in avoiding the hopelessness that can lead to suicide.
 

IRS Urges Military Families to Explore Tax Resources

 
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is encouraging members of the military and their families to learn more about the special tax benefits available to them as the July 15 tax filing season deadline approaches. Most military bases offer free tax preparation and filing assistance during the tax filing season. Some also offer free tax help after the July tax filing deadline. Some of these programs may be impacted by the current COVID-19 so it's best to check first.
 
Service members who prepare their own tax return qualify to e-file their federal return for free using IRS Free File if their income in 2019 was below $69,000. All military members and some qualified veterans may use MilTax, a free tax service from the Department of Defense and Military OneSource. The IRS also offers Free Fillable Forms which can be completed online and then filed electronically regardless of income amount.
 

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 41 new cases and 0 additional COVID-19 related deaths. There are currently 256 active cases in the state.
 
 
19 have died
119 required hospitalization
797 have been released from isolation
 
There have been 102,674 diagnostic tests conducted as of today.
 
Kaua‘i COVID-19 Recovery Effort Encourages You to Shop Local — The County of Kaua‘i has partnered with the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce and other community groups to develop the “Aloha for Kaua‘i” campaign which encourages residents to support the local economy during the COVID-19 pandemic and buy locally produced and sold goods to help local restaurants and retailers. The idea was recommended by the Kaua‘i Economic Recovery business sector team. Mayor Kawakami unveiled the new campaign and its promotional video during his COVID-19 video update yesterday.
 
Honolulu ENV Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19 — The City and County of Honolulu announced today another employee has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and is currently in isolation and will return to work after cleared by the state of Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH). The employee, who works for the Department of Environmental Services (ENV) Collection System Maintenance Division, is part of a family cluster that was identified over the weekend.  The employee notified his supervisor late Sunday night, who immediately contacted ENV administration. ENV notified and provided details of the positive test to DOH.  ENV received guidance on actions to take from the city’s infection control officer. The employee is part of a crew that works Monday through Friday.  Members of the crew along with several others in the Division are self-quarantining to reduce the risk of further exposure to staff and the public. Read the full announcement.
 
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)

Office Locations