07/16/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

July 16, 2020
As I prepare to head to Washington, D.C. next week to vote on important funding and national defense bills, I will be continuing to push for more emergency funding to help families and small businesses weather this crisis, as well as a national testing and contact tracing strategy. 
As I noted during my recent virtual town hall and past e-newsletters, rapid-results testing capabilities are vital to contract tracing efforts. Without this, the virus will move faster than we can contain it. 
Meanwhile, there are important individual actions we should all be taking to protect ourselves and one another like maintaining good hygiene practices, physically distancing as much as possible, and wearing a face mask that covers both your mouth and nose.
What you do protects yourself and others around you. 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 Pushing Testing Devices and Resources to Nursing Homes

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is announcing a large-scale procurement of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized rapid point-of-care diagnostic test instruments and tests to be distributed to nursing homes in COVID-19 hotspot geographic areas within the United States. This initiative is a one-time procurement of devices and tests targeted to facilitate on-site testing among nursing home residents and staff. Through this crucial action, nursing homes will be able to augment their current capacity for coronavirus testing, bolstering their response and helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Read more about the initiative here.

VA Designates $400M CARES Act Funds to Fight Veteran Homelessness

Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced it is allocating an additional $400 million of its coronavirus relief funding to enhance the department’s emergency relief response for Veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) allocated $17.2 billion for the Veterans Health Administration, of which $700 million is devoted to expanding services for and addressing the challenges faced by Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Read more about the effort here.

CFPB Releases Updated COVID-19 Consumer Complaint Data

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today issued an updated Complaint Bulletin, analyzing the more than 8,000 complaints it received from January through May 2020 that mention coronavirus or related terms. The bulletin shows that mortgage (19 percent), credit card (18 percent), and credit or consumer reporting (18 percent) complaints top the list of complaints the Bureau has received that mention coronavirus keywords. Read more about the CFPB’s efforts to fight fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 19 new cases and 0 additional COVID-19 related deaths. There are currently 312 active cases in the state.
22 have died
138 required hospitalization
975 have been released from isolation
There have been 121,512 diagnostic tests conducted as of today.
Drive-Through Testing in Maui Next Week — Mayor Michael Victorino announced drive-through testing for COVID-19 on Wednesday, July 22, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Keopuolani Regional Park. Minit Medical will be conducting the drive-through, with diagnostic and anti-body testing available. Minit Medical will call individuals with all results, which are expected to take one to three days. Get more details from the full announcement.
Kaua‘i Hosting “Kupuna Hour” at the DMV — To improve access to DMV services, Kaua‘i is starting a pilot “Kupuna Hour” program. Elderly residents who are 65 years of age or older in need of assistance with vehicle registration or driver licensing can visit the DMV from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., Monday through Friday in July. No appointment is necessary for kupuna during these times and customers will be helped on a first come, first served basis. Watch Mayor Kawakami’s announcement for more information.
REMINDER: Learn More About the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) — Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) provides eligible families with a one-time payment for each child who previously received free or reduced-price meals. P-EBT works the same way Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits do and will help families get the food they need during the current pandemic. P-EBT will be administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS) in collaboration with the Department of Education (DOE). Visit the program’s webpage to learn more and get answers to frequently asked questions.
Delays With PUA and UI, What Can You Do? — 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 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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