09/22/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

September 22, 2020
Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. HST, I will be hosting a Facebook Live town hall from Washington, D.C. where I will talk about the situation at the Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home, the proposed relaxing of the 14-day quarantine for trans-Pacific visitors to Hawai‘i, and the vote I just took tonight which would help avoid a government shutdown at the end of this month.
You can watch by visiting www.facebook.com/RepTulsiGabbard. You don’t need a Facebook account to watch.
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, the Department of Health reports a total of 63 new cases and 0 additional COVID-19 related deaths. There are currently 6,502 active cases in the state. (Note: There is a lag in the Department of Health COVID-19 related death count, and this number does not include the most recent deaths of veterans at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home)
120 have died
749 required hospitalization
4,992 have been released from isolation
There have been 390,003 diagnostic tests conducted as of today.
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.
  • Number of Active Tracers = 293 (+82 from the previous week) **
  • Number of Trained Tracers in Reserve = 507 (-28 from the previous week) **
  • Percent of New Infections Whose Contacts are Traced within 24 Hours = ***
  • Infection Rate = ***, but COVID Act Now reports 0.75. (-0.01 since yesterday)
** The DOH only has weekly numbers. These are for the week of Sep. 7-Sep. 13.
*** the DOH provides no information.
George Washington University reports that, given the number of infections and the rate of infection in Hawai‘i today, the state should have 661 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.
Another COVID-19 Casualty at the Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home — Bad practices and complacency put our veterans at risk and led to some of our most vulnerable kūpuna losing their lives. Yesterday, I issued a statement about the situation that you can read on my website and this morning I spoke with Hawaii News Now’s Grace Lee about it.
Rep. Gabbard on HNN Sunrise to Discuss Hilo Veterans Home COVID-19 Crisis
Lost Wages Assistance Benefit Distribution Begins — Today, the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) announced the staggered distribution of funds to claimants of current unemployment insurance programs including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. With the assistance of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), the DLIR received approval to pay six weeks of benefits from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The program will pay $300 a week to all eligible claimants that have a weekly benefit amount of $100 or more in unemployment insurance benefits. The program excludes those with a weekly benefit amount of less than $100. Unlike the FPUC program ($600 plus-up) that ended in July, LWA is a grant with a finite amount of funding that only includes benefits for six weeks beginning the week ending 8/1 to 9/5/20.
Hawai‘i County DWS Appointment Only In-Person Services Through Oct. 30 — Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Water Supply (DWS), County of Hawai‘i, will continue offering in-person services by appointment only through Friday, October 30. Customers and members of the public may schedule an appointment to start a new water service, obtain help with an existing water account, or receive other in-person assistance during this time. In-person payment collections and unscheduled in-person services remain suspended through October. To maintain safety, customers wanting to pay their water bill are asked to do so remotely using the no-fee payment options, while walk-in visitors lacking an appointment will be asked to schedule one for assistance. Read the full announcement for more information and how to schedule an appointment.
REMINDER: Food Distribution Program on Kaua‘i — A partnership between Kaua‘i County and two food banks has created a new food distribution program that starts today, September 22. The program will provide food packages to food insecure individuals and families who have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will run through the end of the year and is made possible, in part, through CARES Act funds. Watch the Mayor’s latest video update for distribution dates and locations.
HHS Awards Nearly $360 Million To Programs Supporting Maternal and Child Health — Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced approximately $341 million in funding to 55 states, territories and nonprofit organizations through the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program and approximately $16 million in funding to the State Maternal Health Innovation (State MHI) Program to improve maternal health outcomes. These funds support communities to provide voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services to pregnant women and parents with young children up to kindergarten entry. The MIECHV Program supports pregnant women and families in at-risk communities as they raise children who are physically, socially and emotionally healthy and ready to succeed. The State of Hawaii Department of Public Health has been awarded $3,588,988 in funds as part of this effort.

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