09/15/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

September 15, 2020
Today, the 14th COVID-19 death was reported at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home. So far, 68 residents of the facility, as well as 30 staff members, have tested positive for COVID-19. This is also the 100th death due to COVID-19 in Hawai‘i.
This needless suffering and loss of 14 of our nation’s heroes are further consequences of the failure of leadership in our state. Not only is urgent action needed to protect our veterans, urgent action is needed to protect every person in our state.
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 66 new cases and 1 additional COVID-19 related death. There are currently 6,932 active cases in the state.
100 have died
654 required hospitalization
3,885 have been released from isolation
There have been 354,450 diagnostic tests conducted as of today.
As a result of updated information, one case was removed from the counts.
Tracing in Hawai‘i — The people of Hawai‘i should know how many active tracers there are on a given day, how many we have trained in reserve, what percentage of individuals with new infections they have contacted within 24 hours, and the state’s Infection Rate. This virus moves within a day, we need daily numbers to keep up with it.
  • Number of Active Tracers = DOH only has weekly numbers (293 total for Sep. 7-Sep. 13, that is +82 from the previous week)
  • Number of Trained Tracers in Reserve = DOH only has weekly numbers (507 for Sep. 7-Sep. 13, that is -28 from the previous week)
  • Percent of New Infections Whose Contacts are Traced within 24 Hours = DOH has not provided this information
  • Infection Rate = No DOH information, COVID Act Now reports 0.81. (-0.04 from yesterday)
George Washington University reports that, given the number of infections and the rate of infection in Hawai‘i today, the state should have 932 active tracers. The GWU contact tracing tool can be found in the CDC’s guidance on contact tracing.
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.
VA Partners with Apple to Improve Veteran Telehealth — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today a new collaboration with Apple to increase Veterans’ access to virtual care benefits. VA’s iPad program provides qualifying Veterans with cellular-enabled iPads to access telehealth services and currently helps more than 50,000 Veterans across the country connect to VA health care services virtually. began the Connected Tablet program in 2016. A VA study found Veterans who received tablets, reported high levels of satisfaction with care, were less likely to miss appointments and found it easier and more convenient to access VA care. Read more about the new initiative on VA.gov.
State Announces Cares Act Unemployment Insurance Reimbursement Availability — The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) today announced the availability of funds to reimburse state and local government entities and certain non-profits for unemployment insurance benefits. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provides emergency funds to help mitigate economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing these organizations up to 50% reimbursement of benefits charges for weeks of unemployment between March 13, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Only nonprofit employers that make payment in lieu of contributions are eligible for the reimbursement.
Drive-through COVID-19 testing and mask distribution set for Wednesday, Sep. 16, on Molokai — Mayor Michael Victorino announced that drive-through COVID-19 testing and a mask distribution will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 16, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Mitchell Pauole Community Center on Molokai. The County of Maui will be sending about 2,000 masks to be distributed during the drive-through. Minit Medical Urgent Care will administer diagnostic PCR testing and will call individuals with all results, which are expected to take one to three days. Participants should pre-register for the drive-through testing on Minit Medical’s website at www.minitmed.com. Learn more here.
Mayor Kawakami announces Emergency Rule 16 establishing ‘Resort Bubble’ program — Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami announced a new emergency rule which establishes an Enhanced Movement Quarantine, or “Resort Bubble,” program. Gov. David Ige signed Mayor’s Emergency Rule 16 authorizing the Enhanced Movement Quarantine program which would permit visitors to leave their hotel rooms to utilize the resort’s property during their mandatory quarantine period. This Resort Bubble concept is a voluntary program for both the resort to participate and the visitor to stay there. In order to participate, resorts must establish security and enforcement policies to protect the safety of both guests and employees of the resort. Read more about the rule here. 

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