09/24/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

September 24, 2020
Thanks to everyone who tuned in yesterday for my Facebook town hall. There were some great questions and I am glad we had a chance to discuss everything from concerns about a potential relaxation of the mandatory 14-day quarantine for trans-Pacific travelers and what needs to be done to address the outbreak of COVID-19 at Hilo’s Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home that has claimed the lives of 26 veterans. 
If you did not get a chance to tune in, you can watch the full town hall online. You can also visit my website to watch previous virtual town halls.
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 90 new cases and 2 additional COVID-19 related deaths. There are currently 6,484 active cases in the state.
124 have died
779 required hospitalization
5,265 have been released from isolation
There have been 398,945 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 contact tracers there are on any 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 = 265 (-28 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 0.78. (+0.03 since yesterday)
* The DOH only has weekly numbers. These are for the week of Sep. 14-Sep. 20
** The state only has weekly numbers. These are for the week of Sep. 7-Sep. 13.
*** the DOH provides no information.
One of the key problems with data reporting in Hawai‘i continues to be the lack of frequently and consistently updated information about contact tracing. Right now, we are pulling data from two different webpages the state is using to report the data.
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.
Time is Running Out to Complete the U.S. Census! — The Census is available in 13 languages online at 2020census.gov and there are languages guides in 59 languages here: https://2020census.gov/en/languages.html.
O‘ahu’s Second Stay-at-Home Order Lifted, New Emergency Order In Effect — Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced that Governor David Ige has approved the City and County of Honolulu’s Emergency Order No. 2020-27 ending the Second Stay at Home / Work from Home Order, as well as approving the first tier of Honolulu’s COVID-19 Recovery Framework. Starting on Thursday, September 24, the City will operate under this new Recovery Framework. The City will start in Tier 1 and remain there for at least four weeks.
Tier 1 includes, but is not limited to, the following changes:
  • social gatherings will be expanded to up to five people
  • retail businesses will be able to resume operations with 50% capacity or less
  • restaurants will be allowed to reopen to indoor dining for groups no larger than five from the same household/living unit and 50% capacity or less, no liquor sales after 10 p.m.
  • hair salons, barbershops, and nail salons will be allowed to reopen with conditions
  • public/private pools and golf courses can reopen with conditions
  • certain indoor and outdoor attractions can resume operations with conditions
All essential and designated businesses and operations will still need to comply with Social Distancing Requirements. Read the full Emergency Order No. 2020-27
VA Allowing COVID-19 Hardship Deferments for Home Loan Guaranty Program — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that it is allowing home mortgage loan deferments for Veterans who have experienced financial hardships due to the COVID-19 national emergency. Many Veterans have taken advantage of the loan forbearance program provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Under the Act, borrowers who have federally-backed loans can receive forbearance of their monthly home loan payments, for up to 360 days. Forbearance does not mean forgiveness. As Veterans exit their CARES Act forbearance periods, they must work with their mortgage company to determine when to repay the missed amounts. Read more about this on VA.gov.
Bayanihan Food Distribution on Saturday — Maui Now reports that a fourth Bayanihan Food Distribution will be held on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020 at the Binhi at Ani Filipino Community Center in Kahului (780 Onehee Avenue across from Maui Waena School). The upcoming drive-through food distribution is open to the public and begins at 9:30 a.m., and continues until the supplies of hot food, produce and assorted groceries are exhausted. For traffic flow purposes, vehicles must enter Onehee Avenue by turning right from South Papa Avenue. Drivers are reminded not to impede traffic or block driveways.
County Allocates Funds to Maui CARES Task Force Priorities — The County of Maui has allocated over $20 million in CARES Act funds toward recommendations made by the MauiCARES Task Force. As part of the Task Force, over 30 industry leaders identified areas of need and economic recovery opportunities during meetings from July 8 – Aug. 15, 2020. The team provided the Office of the Mayor recommendations for a number of programs and initiatives ranging from farm/ranch grants to support our county food system, to purchasing computers for students in virtual learning environments. The task force broke into six sector teams covering tourism and commerce; food and farm; healthcare; culture, arts and education; housing and construction; and environment. Decisions were guided by four key areas: immediate relief, jobs, duplication and geographic consideration. Read more about it in the County’s full announcement.

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