10/01/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

October 1, 2020
Today I voted on the Heroes Act 2.0, a COVID-19 emergency assistance bill that would provide help where it is most urgently needed — our state and counties, our small businesses, and our people.
The bill includes an additional round of $1,200 individual stimulus checks, $75 billion for testing and contact tracing, $436 billion in aid for state and local governments, $225 billion for schools and child care, an extension of the $600 expanded unemployment payments, as well as funding for housing, the U.S. Census, the U.S. Postal Service and the election.
Unfortunately, while it was a move towards compromise, it still was not a bipartisan bill, and the Senate is not expected to vote on it.
We have to find common ground to provide relief to the American people. Our leaders must step up and work together to provide urgent assistance in Hawai‘i and across the country. 
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 108 new cases and 3 additional COVID-19 related deaths. There are currently 2,142 active cases in the state.
139 have died
862 required hospitalization
10,340 have been released from isolation
There have been 424,242 diagnostic tests conducted as of today.
As a result of updated information, three 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 0.91. (+0.03 since yesterday)
* The DOH only has weekly numbers. These are for the week of Sep. 21-Sep. 27
** The state only has weekly numbers. The updated dashboard no longer indicates for what time period this number is being reported. However, this is the same number that was reported 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 653 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.
200 Trained Operators Hired For Call Center To Help With Hawai‘i Unemployment Insurance — Gov. David Ige yesterday announced the launching of a virtual call center to help claimants obtain information relating to their claim. The virtual call center will operate during normal state business hours from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. All phone lines in use by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) will be routed to the new center. For more information about unemployment insurance and other labor issues please visit the recently revised FAQs at https://labor.hawaii.gov/covid-19-labor-faqs/
NIH To Assess And Expand Covid-19 Testing For Underserved Communities — The National Institutes of Health has awarded nearly $234 million to improve COVID-19 testing for underserved and vulnerable populations. A part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, the RADx Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program will support 32 institutions across the United States and will focus on populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic. These groups include African Americans, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Latinos/Latinas, Native Hawaiians, older adults, pregnant women and those who are homeless or incarcerated. The program aims to understand COVID-19 testing patterns better among underserved and vulnerable populations; strengthen the data on disparities in infection rates, disease progression and outcomes; and develop strategies to reduce these disparities in COVID-19 testing. Read more on the NIH website
Walmart Now Accepting EBT Online Food Purchasing With Curbside And Delivery Options — Department of Human Services (DHS) has announced that Hawai‘i Walmart stores received approval from the Food and Nutrition Service under the U. S. Department of Agriculture to enable the Online Express Grocery Program for Hawaii’s SNAP recipients. This program will enable kupuna, those with pre-existing health conditions, and others who would prefer not to go into the store, to pick up their groceries curbside at no cost. Or they can utilize the delivery option and the fee is approximately $20 per transaction. There is no minimum purchase to utilize both options for those using their EBT card. DHS is actively working on expanding this program to other grocers in Hawai‘i. Get information and place an order here.
HIEMA Personal Protective Equipment Website Taking Pre-Orders For Deliveries Arriving In October And November 2020 — Part XIII Section 30 of SB126 appropriated $61 million of CARES funds to be used for “the purchase and distribution of personal protective equipment to hospitals, childcare facilities, elderly care facilities, businesses, non-profits, and schools, pursuant to Public Law 116-136 and associated guidance issued by appropriate federal agencies…” The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) a division of the State of Hawaii Department of Defense has been designated as the lead agency in this program is working with various State Departments and volunteers to purchase, warehouse, and distribute to the designated recipients. You can learn more about this program and apply online here.

Salvation Army Monthly Donation Event On Kaua‘i Scheduled For Tomorrow — The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) will be accepting donations on Friday, Oct. 2, in Līhu‘e at the Kaua‘i Resource Center (KRC) located at 3460 Ahukini Road from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Residents, businesses, and other organizations can bring in unwanted or unneeded items including clothing, small furniture, children’s toys, books, and shoes. Clothing and textiles do not need to be in good condition. Torn or stained clothing is okay. Please do not bring eWaste, chemicals, appliances, or broken items. We encourage the public to check with their local thrift stores to see if they’re capable of taking donations before bringing items to the KRC. While on-site, customers are requested to maintain social distancing, wear a mask, and follow all directions from ARC and County staff.

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