07/13/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update
COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update
July 13, 2020
We continue to see surging COVID-19 infections across the country. In Hawai‘i we are seeing numbers reminiscent of the first couple months of the pandemic. We have to keep our eye on the goal — sufficient testing and tracing capacity, secure medical supply chains and PPE stocks, all of which are being strained by the spike in cases.
This Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. HST, I will be hosting my next virtual town hall on Facebook. You do not need a Facebook account to watch. I hope you’ll join me. For more information, visit my website.
I will talk about what we can do in Hawai‘i and in Congress to continue to ride out the pandemic and adjust to recovering responsibly — coming out of this public health crisis stronger and more resilient to these types of challenges.
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,
Member of Congress (HI-02)
HHS Awards +$4 Billion More to Healthcare Providers Impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is awarding approximately $3 billion in CARES Act funding to hospitals serving a large percentage of vulnerable populations on thin margins and approximately $1 billion to specialty rural hospitals, urban hospitals with certain rural Medicare designations, and hospitals in small metropolitan areas. HHS is also opening the provider portal to allow dentists to apply for relief. HHS recognizes the urgent need these vital funds play in supporting safety net providers and those serving large rural populations facing financial devastation catalyzed by the pandemic.
REMEMBER: July 15 is the Filing Deadline for Federal Taxes
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) created a webpage to help address frequently asked questions about the upcoming July 15 deadline to file federal taxes. You can visit their webpage here. The IRS also has several online tools to assist filers with the process. And you can check on the status of your refund, once you file, using the “Where’s My Refund” tool.
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 85 new cases and 3 additional COVID-19 related deaths. There are currently 311 active cases in the state.
To date, there are 1158 individuals in Hawai‘i who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of these cases:
22 have died
128 required hospitalization
911 have been released from isolation
There have been 114,109 diagnostic tests conducted as of today.
Hawai‘i County Launches Service to Help Tackle COVID-19 Financial Challenges — In partnership with national nonprofit organization the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), Mayor Harry Kim announced today the launch of a free Financial Navigators program to help residents navigate critical financial issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial Navigators will be available remotely starting July 13, 2020, to provide guidance over the phone to help residents access available programs and services to manage income disruptions and other financial concerns. The Financial Navigators program is designed to help residents deal with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing remote assistance in navigating critical financial issues and making referrals to other appropriate social services and resources. The County of Hawaii will offer these Financial Navigator services in partnership with Hawaii First Federal Credit Union.
“Dine in Chinatown” set for Saturday, July 11 and “Open Street Kalākaua” to proceed for the month of July on Sundays — The City and County of Honolulu is reminding the public that on Saturday, July 11, a portion of Hotel Street will be closed off to vehicular traffic for “Dine in Chinatown” and a portion of Kalākaua will be closed each Sunday for the month of July from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. for “Open Street Kalākaua.” Hotel Street from River Street to Richards Street will be closed to vehicles – but wide open for walking and biking – from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Honolulu Police Department officers will be posted to assist with traffic control. While people walking and biking will be able to cruise through most Hotel Street intersections, cross-traffic will not be cut-off at Alakea and Bishop Streets. Pedestrians and bicyclists will have to use the existing traffic signals at those intersections. Bicyclists are reminded that their bikes should have lights if they plan on riding after dark. The City and County of Honolulu also recently announced an extension of Open Street Kalākaua initiative into the month of July. Read the full announcement for more information.
The City and County of Honolulu Updates July and August Events — In the on-going effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is continuing to cancel large events organized by the department. At Foster Botanical Garden, the Midsummer Night’s Gleam is cancelled for 2020. The 80th Annual Nā Hula Festival at Kapi‘olani Park is cancelled. The Nā Hula Festival is Hawai‘i’s longest running, annual, non-competitive hula event. The 13th Annual Day at the Beach event, sponsored by AccesSurf, at Kualoa Regional Park is also cancelled. As a reminder to the public, most outdoor DPR facilities remain open to the general public unless they are in use by the Summer Fun Program. Read the full announcement for a rundown of City park facilities and operations that are available.
Delays With PUA and UI, What Can You Do? — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our state as infections surge here and across the country. The continued economic uncertainty has prolonged the strain on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) systems. The volume of claims and reports of fraud have put additional pressure on the PUA and UI systems to respond to claims.
In the meantime, continue to engage the PUA and UI systems directly.
For more information about UI, visit the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) website to start the process and follow up on your claim. This website includes a link to contact information related to the status of your claim.
Visit https://pua.hawaii.gov/ to start your claim. The DLIR notes that fraud continues to be a big problem and provides a webpage dedicated to frequently asked PUA questions.
If you need assistance with the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, please go to https://lbr.force.com/PUASupport/s/contactsupport and submit a help desk ticket. This will enable you to receive assistance more quickly. The DLIR asks that you use the above link and refrain from contacting other UI offices for PUA assistance as they are not a part of the PUA support team and are unable to guarantee that you will receive assistance.
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’s Department of Health, Adult Mental Health Division (including the 24/7 Mental Health Access Line, 1-800-753-6879)
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
COVID-19 Updates (https://www.kauai.gov/covid-19)
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
Testing Dates/Sites (https://www.covid19mauinui.com/testing)
County of Hawai‘i
COVID-19 Updates (website) * news & recovery info
Testing Dates/Sites (located on its FAQ webpage)