Hawai‘i COVID-19 Daily News Digest September 17, 2020

Posted on Sep 17, 2020 in COVID-19

Governor’s Office:

Focus on Health of Students, Teachers, & Staff

At a morning news briefing, Gov. David Ige acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially tough for families with school-aged children. He said reopening Hawai‘i schools touches on three priorities he announced yesterday:

  • Protecting the health of our community
  • Reviving our economy
  • Strengthening our community

Gov. Ige said, “Our ability to restart our economy depends in part upon schools opening up safely, so parents can go back to work without worrying about their children’s well-being.” He observed that schools provide services and support to children and families beyond education that are crucial to keeping the community strong. “For these reasons, we want our kids to return to school,” Ige said.

He was joined by Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble, who described the 28-page document to help guide school leaders in making decisions in their communities, and DOE Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto, who spoke about what the guidance means for our public schools (more on the plan below).

FB Live Community Connection Highlights Rental Housing Relief Program

Gov. Ige hosted another Community Connection Facebook live today to discuss the rental housing relief program that was launched last week. The program provides relief for renters who have suffered a loss of income because of COVID-19. During the session, Gov. Ige said, “We know it’s so important to keep people in their homes. We’ve asked landlords to be patient until we could start these types of programs to ensure we don’t add to our homeless populations. Most importantly, this program will help strengthen families and allow them to remain in their homes.”

In order to qualify for the program, household income must be at or below 100% of the HUD median income. Executive Director of the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance Development Corporation Denise Iseri-Matsubara said, “This translates to about $83,000 for a family of four in Hawaiʻi County, and $126,000 for a family of four on Oʻahu.” The state will help with rent payments of up to $2,000 monthly that will be made directly to landlords. Another phase will be rolled out later, which will also include assistance for mortgages.

The governor hosts the Community Connection weekly with various state leaders to keep everyone informed on what’s happening during the COVID-19 crisis and to discuss resources available for residents. To watch: https://www.facebook.com/GovernorDavidIge


Department of Health:

160 Cases Reported Today & Four Additional Deaths on O‘ahu

Three (3) women and one (1) man, all from O‘ahu, all with underlying health conditions and who had been in the hospital, are the latest Hawai‘i residents to pass away from coronavirus. Two of the women were in the 70 to 79-year-old age group, and the third was in the 80 to 89-year-old group. The man was in the 60 to 69-year-old age group.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, Sept. 17, 2020    

Island of Diagnosis    

New Cases    

Reported since    

2/28/2020    

(including new cases) 

O‘ahu    

137

10,015

Hawai‘i    

20

623

Maui   

3

366

Kaua‘i   

0

58

Moloka‘i    

0

15

Lānaʻi

0

0

HI residents diagnosed outside of HI   

1

28

Total Cases    

160

11,105++

Deaths    

4

107

Hospitalization count as of 9/16/20 at 4:36 pm: 21-Hawai‘i, 2-Maui, 174-O‘ahu, 0-Kaua‘i  

Laboratory* Testing Data    

There were 3,829 additional COVID-19 tests reported via electronic laboratory reporting.

Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories    

Positive

Negative

269,329**

11,105

258,201

Total Number of Surge Tests++

 

 

48,104

300

47,804

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting **23 test results were inconclusive    

++ Tests results from unique individuals. Total numbers may be higher due to repeat tests on single individuals.

HawaiiCOVID19.comCOVID-19 Epidemic Curve Hawaii September 17, 2020

For more tables, charts and visualizations visit the DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division: https://health.hawaii.gov/coronavirusdisease2019/what-you-should-know/current-situation-in-hawaii

DOH Issues School Guidance to Protect the Health of Students, Teachers and Staff

Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble spearheaded the development of the school guidance document. At the governor’s news briefing she said, “We recognize that one size does not fit all, so instead of blanket statewide guidance, we developed a regional approach because disease transmission rates can differ on each island. This empowers school leaders to be responsive in the context of what is happening in their community.”

Schools may choose from three different learning models:

  • Learning from home in virtual classes
  • Traditional classroom instruction
  • Hybrid blended model combining both in-home & in-person learning

The models are based on community transmission levels with different thresholds for elementary and secondary students. The metric used is the number of positive coronavirus cases per 10,000 people over a 14-day period on each island.

For example, Oʻahu, which has a population of 974,563, had a total of 1,937 cases from September 1 to 14. This translates to 19.9 cases per 10,000 for Oʻahu for that 14-day period. Based on the community transmission thresholds, both elementary and secondary schools should consider adopting a blended learning model.Metric Key for school models

This model has been implemented in other states. The guidance document also includes precautions and safety measure’s schools should use when making decisions. The full guidance document: https://health.hawaii.gov/coronavirusdisease2019/files/2020/09/COVID-19-Guidance-for-Schools-UPDATE-with-Appendix-091620.pdf.

Metrics: https://health.hawaii.gov/coronavirusdisease2019/what-you-should-know/current-situation-in-hawaii/ (scroll to the bottom of the page).


Department of Human Services:

Second Round of Benefits Approved for Hawaiʻi P-EBT, Deadline Approaching

DHS and DOE announced Wednesday there will be a second round of Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) benefits allocated to children who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of the summer, during the first round of P-EBT, DHS provided more than 93,500 eligible students with $33,437,250 in food assistance support. The federal government approved issuance of a second round of P-EBT for kindergarten to 12th grade students enrolled in schools operating with a distance learning  model. DHS Director Cathy Betts said, “Ensuring that children in need have access to nutritious meals remains a top priority. As families navigate the challenges of work, remote learning, and caring for their ‘ohana, we hope these additional benefits will relieve some of the financial stressors of accessing healthy and nutritious meals.” Eligible families can receive up to $136 per child for August, and $150 per child for September.

However, there is a tight turnaround to receive benefits due to federal restrictions. Parents must ensure their child’s school has the correct mailing address no later than Sept. 22, 2020. If the child is in need and not enrolled in the Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Program, you’re asked to enroll no later than Sept. 21, 2020 at: EZMealApp.com

The DOE is working to identify all eligible children throughout the state and provide DHS with addresses so they can receive their benefits in a timely manner. DOE Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said, “Many students rely on school meals as their primary source of food daily. With the majority of students participating in distance learning during the first quarter, it’s important to make sure that families have the resources they need to provide well-balanced and nutritious meals to their children so that they can continue to learn and thrive.” To learn more:

http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/TeachingAndLearning/HealthAndNutrition/StudentHealthResources/Pages/FreeReducedLunch.aspx


Department of Public Safety:

Mass Testing for COVID-19 Underway at Correctional Facilities Statewide

PSD’s Health Care Division is working with DOH to conduct mass testing for COVID-19 at all correctional facilities statewide. The broad-based testing, administered by PSD Health Care staff, started on Tuesday at the Waiawa Correctional Facility (WCF). The first batch of test results have come in for 152 inmates. All 152 were negative. There are 77 pending results. PSD Deputy Director for Administration and Acting Director said, “These test results are a testament to how hard the Waiawa staff and PSD health care staff have worked to prepare and implement the pandemic plan. We are encouraged by the first batch results and await the rest of the tests. I want to thank the Waiawa warden and his staff, our PSD Health Care Division administrator and his medical staff and acknowledge the preventative measures that Director Nolan Espinda instructed be put in place in February, when the pandemic first started showing up in Hawaiʻi.”

The test results are anticipated to take three days to receive. The order of the facilities next in line for testing is still being worked out. PSD is also working with DOH and the Hawaiʻi National Guard to coordinate the testing of correctional officers and staff.

Efforts to contain the outbreak at the Oʻahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) are working. PSD received 102 inmate test results from DOH-led mass testing at the facility. Of the 102, only 5 were positive and 97 were negative. There are currently no inmates hospitalized. Of the 11 staff tests results received 1 was positive. Staff recoveries increased to 66.


Department of Defense:

Hawaiʻi National Guard Medical Task Force Praised by Governor

The Hawaiʻi National Guard’s Joint Task Force, the activated portion of the Guard assisting the in the state’s response to COVID-19, has a specialized medical unit that was recognized by Gov. Ige Thursday for its missions within the community. Task Force Medical (TF Med) has been on the frontlines in Hawaiʻi’s fight against the pandemic. The team consists of nearly 60 guardsmen and is made up of medical professionals, first responders, military medics, military planners, college students, and more.

Some of the location’s TF Med operated in include; high-risk/public housing, homeless camps, senior living communities and most recently OCCC. Their ability to conduct N95 fit testing, COVID education and trainings assisted healthcare workers by enabling them to effectively protect themselves as they continue serving on the frontlines of this pandemic. Accomplishments include;

Types of Support Conducted within the Community

Stats

Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority

14 sites on Oahu

21 visits to O‘ahu Community Correctional Center

2304 swabs of inmates & staff

Public Health Education & Community Outreach

7832 residents

COVID-19 Nasopharyngeal swabs

4308 swabbed

N95 Masks Fit Testing

667 persons

Keʻehi Lagoon Provisional Outdoor Screening Triage

319 homeless patients served

Guardsmen served for behavioral health, wellness checks and stress mitigation

3293

To view more:

http://dod.hawaii.gov/blog/main/media-release-hawai%ca%bbi-national-guard-medical-task-force-praised-by-governor/


Department of Labor and Industrial Relations:

State Releases Updated Unemployment Information

DLIR announced updated unemployment insurance claims information Thursday, including paying $3,186,067,022 since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic on March 1, 2020. DLIR Director Anne Eustaquio said, “95-percent of the valid unemployment insurance claims that have come in since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic have been processed and paid out by the DLIR. Although we have processed about 135,000 self-certifications for the $300 plus-up, tens of thousands of more claimants are eligible and should login to the portal and indicate that their unemployment was due to disruptions caused by COVID-19 to receive the additional benefit.”

http://labor.hawaii.gov/blog/news/state-releases-updated-unemployment-insurance-information-14/

Hawaiʻi’s Unemployment Rate at 12.5-Percent in August  

DLIR also announced Thursday that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August was 12.5-percent, compared to the revised rate of 13.5-percent in July. Statewide, 557,200 people were employed and 79,700 unemployed in August for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 636,900. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.4-percent in August, down from 10.2-percent in July. To view more:

http://labor.hawaii.gov/blog/news/hawaiis-unemployment-rate-at-12-5-in-august/

 

Helpful Resources

  • Safe Travels Information (Frequently Asked Questions)

 https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel/#travel-FAQs

 

 

  • Maui County
    Maui County mandatory travel declaration form and request for limited quarantine form:

https://www.mauicounty.gov

To report violators: (808) 244-6400 or [email protected]

 

To report violators: 808-935-3311

 

  • City & County of Honolulu

Honolulu COVID-19 webpage: oneoahu.org

Interisland passengers arriving on O‘ahu are not subject to the mandatory quarantine. 

To report violators: 808-723-3900 or [email protected]

Beginning Oct. 15, 2020

flowchart showing the steps for taking pre-travel test and quarantine

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PDF: COVID-19 Daily News Digest September 17, 2020