08/06/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

August 6, 2020
Unfortunately, today Hawai‘i announced an additional 2 deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Health estimates the total number of new cases today to be close to 200. 
I’ve called on the Department of Health to fully mobilize the contact tracing force we need right now. Given our population and the rate of infections we are seeing in Hawai‘i, George Washington University recommends a staffing ratio of at least 40 contact tracers per 100,000 population. That means we should have at least 560 active contact tracers. However, the Department of Health has deployed less than 19% of that amount. The number of tracers will have to increase if the number of our infections gets worse.
Congress has provided funding for contact tracing. There is no excuse not to actively employ all available, trained contact tracers, along with additional personnel from the Hawai‘i National Guard, to rapidly trace, investigate, and contain every single positive COVID case. This must be done to defeat the virus. You can read my full statement on my website.
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)

Facebook Live Virtual Town Hall Next Wednesday

Want to hear the latest news on what is happening nationally and locally related to Coronavirus? I will be hosting my next virtual town hall tomorrow via Facebook Live. You do not need a Facebook account to watch it.
Virtual Town Hall | COVID-19 Update # 20
Wednesday, August 12 at 4:00 p.m. Hawai‘i Time

VA Telehealth Use Continues to Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released new data today showing a significant increase in the use of My HealtheVet, a VA online tool designed to help Veterans make informed decisions about their health. From January to June 2020, Veterans and providers exchanged more than 11.6 million secure messages through My HealtheVet, a 24.1% increase compared to the same period in 2019. VA attributes the increase in use of its online health care tools to its proactive approach to keep Veterans and VA providers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about this on the VA’s website

USDA Extends Deadlines, Defers Interest Accrual Due to COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced it will authorize Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) to extend deadlines for premium and administrative fee payments, defer the resulting interest accrual and allow other flexibilities to help farmers, ranchers, and insurance providers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, USDA is authorizing AIPs to provide policyholders additional time to pay premium and administrative fees and to waive accrual of interest to the earlier of 60 days after their scheduled payment due date or the termination date on policies with premium billing dates between August 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020. Learn more on the USDA’s website.

COVID-19 Hawai‘i News & Resources

Testing in Hawai‘i — Since yesterday, there has been an undetermined number of new cases due to the electronic reporting system not functioning properly. The Department of Health Director states the number is likely close to 200. We hope to have more accurate numbers tomorrow. 
Looking for federal and state COVID-19 resources — including directions on dealing with UI and PUA, local food banks, testing sites, and economic recovery programs for small businesses? Visit gabbard.house.gov/COVID-19.

The Inter-island Quarantine Will Be Reinstated And Parks And Beaches Will Close Due To Surge In Covid-19 Cases — During a news conference earlier today, Governor David Ige announced that the mandatory, 14-day quarantine for inter-island travel will be reinstated, city and state parks and beaches on O'ahu will be closed, and Honolulu police will dial up enforcement of emergency orders as part of a push to rein in a surge in new COVID-19 cases. The inter-island quarantine will go back into effect Tuesday. Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the closure of city and state parks and beaches will start at midnight Friday and extend through Sept. 5. Watch the full news conference here.

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