09/02/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

 
September 2, 2020
 
Aloha,
 
Yesterday, I was on the H-3 getting tested as part of the surge testing effort on O‘ahu. We went early and it was quite efficient. For those who haven’t gone yet, I encourage you to register. I also have a new webpage with the flier for this surge testing initiative in several languages. Please check it out and share with others who need it!
 
 
At 4:00 p.m. today, I will be hosting a telephone town hall where we will talk about the surge testing, how we got to this point, and what we can do about it. I’ll also talk about the recent shake up at the Department of Health and what the state needs to do to get on track. I’ll be joined by Dr. DeWolfe Miller, an epidemiologist, and Dr. Scott Miscovich, who has been at the forefront of testing efforts across the state.
 
If you haven’t already signed up on my website to get called for the event, you can listen online at gabbard.house.gov/live.
 
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)
 

COVID-19 News & Resources

 
Testing in Hawai‘i — Since yesterday, there were a total of 339 new cases and 1 additional COVID-19 related death. There are currently 6,277 active cases in the state.
 
 
75 have died
552 required hospitalization
2,689 have been released from isolation
 
There have been 275,704 diagnostic tests conducted as of today.
 
As a result of updated information, 90 of the newly reported cases are previously diagnosed cases from between 8/20 and 8/31 whose reporting was delayed  as the result of an error in ELR reporting that has subsequently been corrected. As a result of updated information, one case was re-categorized from Honolulu to Hawaii, and one case from Honolulu was removed from the counts.
 
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.
 
Make Sure Hawai‘i Gets Counted, Complete the 2020 Census Today — If you have yet to complete the 2020 Census, there is still time to do so and now more than ever we can appreciate how important it is to be counted!
 
By completing a 10 minute, online questionnaire, you will help shape the future of our state for the next 10 years!
 
Census information helps determine how much representation we get in the U.S. House of Representatives. It helps determine how much federal resources we get — including important programs like school lunches, assistance to our first responders, funds for our federal highways, Medicaid, and so much more.
 
So, if you haven’t completed your 2020 Census, you can go online today to 2020census.gov and be counted for Hawai‘i!
 
Frustrated With Soaring Infections and Continued Shutdowns? Why Better Testing, Tracing, and Daily Reports Are Needed — We are all fighting hard to keep one another safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19. That has meant taking precautionary measures that are not always easy, but still very important to do.
 
When we do not have data about our public health efforts and there is little transparency, it can lead to uncertainty and frustration.
 
While we get daily reports on the number of tests being conducted and the number of infections they identify, we do NOT have a daily report on the state’s contact tracing effort or public health numbers that would reflect on how good a job the contact tracing operation is doing. A key number here is Infection Rate.
 
Infection Rate, simply put, is the likelihood of one person to infect another. The higher the rate, the more people are likely to be infected due to an infected person.
 
Other states report this number daily. You can also find it reported daily online at covidactnow.org.
 
You will see it reported as a number either greater than, equal to, or less than 1. If the Infection Rate is:
  • greater than 1 (x>1), then that means the amount of infections are increasing. New people are getting sick, and more people are getting sick each day.
  • equal to 1 (x=1), then that means the amount of infections are staying steady. New people are getting sick, but the amount of people getting sick each day is staying the same.
  • less than 1 (x<1), then that means the amount of infections are decreasing. New infections are still happening, but each day fewer people are getting infected and that means there is a chance to eventually contain the spread of the virus.
 
How does this relate to contact tracing? Contact tracing is an effort that identifies and warns all the people who were exposed to an infected individual that they too may also be infected. The faster it happens, the sooner exposed people can isolate and get tested themselves and the less likely they are to infect even more people. In other words, the faster we isolate infections, the sooner we can get our infection rate below 1.
 
How do testing and tracing impact COVID-19? Each of these things are vital to preventing the spread of the virus and each must be done well to be effective.
  • The more testing we do, the more we can uncover where the virus is and contain it.
  • The results of tests have to come back quickly, ideally within 24 hours, so you can quickly inform the infected and prevent them from interacting with others.
  • The more contact tracers there are, the faster you can interview the newly infected, identify those they might have exposed to COVID-19, and contact those people to urge them to get tested and take precautions not to spread it to others (in case they are affected).
  • The contact tracing has to be done quickly, ideally within 24 hours. The more time that passes, exposed individuals will be more likely to come into contact with other people.
 
Maintaining a strong testing and robust contact tracing force will help quickly squash any new flare ups once the spread is contained.
  • If we have robust testing and tracing, but no preventative measures are practiced, we will be able to detect the virus well but will continue to see it spread rapidly.
  • If people practice good preventative measures, but the state doesn’t robustly test and trace, the virus can quickly spread undetected.
 
All together, the preventive measures help prevent the spread of the virus — or in a case like we are facing now — get the spread back under control.
 
For months, I have been calling for robust testing and tracing efforts and transparency by the Governor and Department of Health in reporting to the public as to what exactly is being done.
 
Just as we are being asked to do things to prevent the spread of the virus, we need to know what our public officials are doing and what the results of our combined efforts are so we can better troubleshoot problems and prevent surges in cases like we have seen over the past couple months.
 

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