09/28/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update
COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update
September 28, 2020
Avalon Healthcare Group — the private company managing the Yukio Okutsu State Veteran Home in Hilo — has been fired due to its failed operations which saw nearly all the residents and over two dozen staff infected with COVID-19. Twenty-six of our veterans who lived at the home have died. You can read my full statement on my website.
I am in Washington, D.C. right now where House Democrats just released an updated version of the HEROES Act. Congress is trying to negotiate additional federal emergency assistance to help families and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
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,
Member of Congress (HI-02)
COVID-19 News & Resources
Testing in Hawai‘i — Since Friday, the Department of Health reports a total of 312 new cases and 5 additional COVID-19 related deaths. There are currently 1,958 active cases in the state.
To date, there are 12,203 individuals in Hawai‘i who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of these cases:
132 have died
819 required hospitalization
10,215 have been released from isolation
There have been 412,790 diagnostic tests conducted as of today.
As a result of updated information, 4 cases were 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 = 288 (+23 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 0.87. (+0.08 since Friday)
* The DOH only has weekly numbers. These are for the week of Sep. 21-Sep. 27
** 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.
New Maui Fund to Help Small Businesses — On Friday, Mayor Michael Victorino announced the launch of the Maui County Adaptability Fund to help local small businesses recover and survive the impacts from COVID-19. Maui Economic Development Board, Inc. (MEDB) is administering the Adaptability Fund, a program funded by the CARES Act and proposed by Mayor Victorino’s MauiCARES Task Force. The County has allocated $5 million to the Adaptability Fund. The program is now accepting online applications. Read the full announcement for more information about eligibility and how to apply.
REMINDER: Hawai‘i County Rent/Mortgage and Utilities Assistance Programs — Launched last month, the COVID-19 Utility Bill Support program by the Hawai‘i County Economic Opportunity council provides $500 in utilities (gas, electric, non-govt. water) assistance for households with an annual household income at or below 100% AMI. Visit hceoc.net for more information about the program which is made possible, in part, by funds through the CARES Act.
Also, the Rent and Mortgage Assistance Program (RMAP) was created through an $8.5 million CARES Act funds grant. This program will provide rent or mortgage payments not to exceed $2,000 per month through December 2020 for eligible households below 140% of the area median income who were affected by COVID-19. Check out the County of Hawai‘i’s flier about the program which includes updates from this month.
VA Digitization Project to Expedite Claims for Blue Water Navy Veterans — Last year, I helped introduce and voted to pass the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which was signed into law and became effective January 1 of this year. It extends the presumption of service connection for certain diseases associated with Agent Orange herbicide exposure.
Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the completion of an interagency effort with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to digitize declassified deck logs to process claims faster for eligible Vietnam-era Veterans. The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard deck logs within NARA contain helpful information being used to validate claims for Blue Water Navy (BWN) Veterans who served in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam, to establish presumption to herbicide exposure for service-connected disability benefits. Data contained in deck logs is used when deciding VA benefit claims. Also known as ship logs or captain's logs, information was manually inputted to chronologically document the daily activities of a navy ship or unit. Read more about this on VA.gov.