Special agents arrest two more quarantine violators

One Faces Additional Charge of Animal Cruelty

HONOLULU – Social media postings again helped lead to the arrests of two men, on Friday afternoon, accused of violating the State’s 14-day mandatory traveler quarantine rules.

Special Agents from the Investigation Division of the Department of the Attorney General arrested 20-year-old Artyon Zhiryada of Happy Valley, OR and 19-year-old Dan Vlasenko of Vancouver, WA as they were leaving a condominium on Lewers Street in Waikiki.

In addition to facing quarantine violation charges, Zhiryada faces an additional charge of Cruelty to Animals. Agents say he posted a video, among others, showing him shooting a feral chicken with a spear gun in an area parking lot. They say the pair arrived in Honolulu last Saturday, indicating they were staying at a friend’s condo. They immediately began breaking quarantine requirements and “showed off their escapades by posting their adventures on social media sites as they traveled to various locations around Honolulu.”

Both men were booked and charged and have been unable to post bail at this time. For Zhiryada, bail is set at $4,500 and for Vlasenko it is $4,000.

Attorney General Clare Connors commented, “We appreciate the assistance of those who reported these social media postings to us. Our special agents have arrested 15 quarantine violators in recent weeks and county police departments have arrested additional suspects. Once again, we must warn residents who return, and visitors who come to Hawai‘i, that they will face consequences for violating our COVID-19 emergency rules. Please do the right thing and if you cannot abide by the 14-day quarantine, postpone your trip to the Aloha State until the quarantine ends, for your own safety and the safety of everyone else.”

# # #

PDF: Special Agents Arrest Two More Quarantine Violators

Hawaii COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 22, 2020

Governor’s Office:

Holiday Weekend Not the Time to Let Our Guard Down

This Memorial Day weekend is bound to bring thousands of Hawai‘i residents and visitors, who’ve first cleared their 14-day traveler quarantines, to our state’s beaches, parks, trails, and other outside spaces. Health officials and state leaders are encouraging continued social distancing, wearing of masks while around others or inside businesses, and frequent hand washing, as necessary for keeping the COVID-19 case count low or at zero.

Yesterday, at Maunalua Bay, a large group of teenagers tied numerous boats together and had a miniature flotilla. Not only were they clearly not socially distancing, they were also in violation of numerous of Governor Ige’s emergency rules, such as having boats less than 20-feet apart.

Gov. Ige said, “As you remember the sacrifices of our service members and celebrate graduates this weekend, please remember to have fun safely. Connect with friends and loved ones in ways that protect yourselves, your loved ones and our community. We’re all in this together and can keep our success going if we remind each other to keep up with safe practices.”

The emergency rules disallow gatherings of more than 10 people and require six feet of social distance unless they are members of the same family. Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson, said, “Please, please, if you have young people in your family, talk to them about how important social distancing is right now. The last thing anyone wants to happen is to have an asymptomatic family member infect aunty or uncle, grandmother or grandfather.”

Following this consistent direction has resulted in one of the lowest infection rates and death rates in the nation. This good news means each of us is doing our part with safe practices. Let’s ALL keep the positive streak going. Maunalua Bay mini-flotilla: https://vimeo.com/421677479

 

Department of Health:

No New Cases of COVID-19 Reported and Count Drops by Five

Another day with no new coronavirus cases reported, and five cases (2-O‘ahu, 1-Hawai‘i, 1-Maui, 1-Kaua‘i) were dropped from the count after a review of test results showed these cases to be indeterminate. That leaves the total cumulative count of COVID-19 cases since Feb. 28, 2020 at 642.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, May 22, 2020

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since

2/28/2020

(including new cases)

Total Released from Isolation*
O‘ahu 0 414 385
Hawai‘i 0 81 76
Maui 0 115 103
Kaua‘i 0 20 19
Moloka‘i 0 2 2
Lana‘i 0 0 0
Residents Diagnosed outside HI 0 10  
Unknown 0 0  
Total** 0 642++  
Total released from isolation     585
Deaths 0 17  

* Includes cases that meet isolation release criteria. Cases that have died and one case that left the jurisdiction have been removed from these counts. ++5 cases were removed from the counts as a result of updated testing information.

 Laboratory* Testing Data

There were 559 additional COVID-19 tests reported via electronic laboratory reporting.

Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories Positive Negative
43,252** 640 42,597

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting  **15 test results were inconclusive

Hawaiicovid19.comCOVID-19 Cases by Exposure as of May 21

For more tables visit: https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/

 

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:

1,203 Passengers Arrive on Thursday

Yesterday marked two months since the State’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for all passengers arriving in Hawai‘i from out of state. Yesterday, a total of 1,203 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 363 visitors and 332 returning residents. There was a total of 17 arriving flights. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday, but does not show interisland travel.

AIRPORT ARRIVALS FOR THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2020

  KONA MAUI O‘AHU LĪHUʻE TOTAL
Crew 12   128   140
Transit 1   150   151
Military     75   75
Exempt     31   31
Relocate to Hawai‘i 4   107   111
Returning Resident 20   312   332
Visitor 27   336   363
GRAND TOTAL 64 0 1,139 0 1,203
Flights 4 0 13 0 17

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4611/052220-passenger-count-press-release.pdf

 

Department of Transportation:

New Mandatory Travel Declaration Form

The DOT Airports Division is using a new travel declaration form for all arriving domestic and international passengers and all departing interisland passengers in Hawai‘i. The revisions include the addition of departure information, the purpose of travel and how the person made the reservation. Every adult traveler is required to complete the form in its entirety.

The new mandatory travel declaration form is being used instead of the Department of Agriculture declaration form for passenger tracking. Both forms are mandatory and will be provided to passengers on trans-Pacific domestic and international flights by the flight crews. The agriculture form will be collected prior to landing by the flight crew, as it was before the travel quarantine began. The travel declaration form will be collected and verified by an airport representative after the passenger exits the plane. The mandatory travel declaration form:

https://hidot.hawaii.gov/airports/files/2020/05/TRAVEL-DECLARATION-FORM-20200519.pdf

 

Department of the Attorney General:

California Woman Arrested For Travel Quarantine Violation

A 51-year old woman from Moorpark, CA was arrested this morning by a team of Special Agents from the Investigations Division of the Department of the Attorney General for violating the State’s 14-day travel quarantine.Investigators say she arrived in Honolulu on May 9 to stay with her son at a Hawai‘i Kai condominium. A resident of the complex reported seeing her and her son unloading luggage that day. Two days later, the same witness reported seeing the pair enter the condo lobby carrying beach equipment. On Wednesday, she was spotted walking her son’s dog. This morning investigators went to the complex to interview witnesses. As they were doing so, they saw Beutler and her son come out of the elevator and attempt to walk out of the building. She was arrested, booked and charged. Her bail is set at $2,000.

Full release:

https://governor.hawaii.gov/newsroom/latest-news/hawaii-covid-19-joint-information-center-news-release-california-woman-arrested-for-violating-quarantine-may-22-2020/

 

Department of Public Safety:

Population Report

From March 2 to May 22 there has been a 767-person decrease in the jail population across the state. These reductions are due to the huge, up-front diversion efforts made by county police departments, PSD’s Intake Services Center Division and the State Judiciary. More recent, additional reductions are due to the collaborative efforts of the state public defender’s office, county prosecutors, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court and the Supreme Court appointed Special Master, Judge Dan Foley. As the focus now shifts to the sentenced prison population, reports will be updated to include the prisons. Prison population has seen a 94-person decrease within the same timeframe. http://dps.hawaii.gov/blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-resources/

# # #

PDF: COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 22, 2020

Holiday weekend is not the time to let our guard down

Have Fun Safely

HONOLULU – This Memorial Day weekend is bound to bring thousands of Hawai‘i residents and visitors, who’ve first cleared their 14-day traveler quarantines, to our state’s beaches, parks, trails, and other outside spaces. Health officials and state leaders are encouraging continued social distancing, wearing of masks while around others or inside businesses, and frequent hand washing, as necessary for keeping the COVID-19 case count low or at zero.

Yesterday, at Maunalua Bay, a large group of teenagers tied numerous boats together and had a miniature flotilla. Not only were they clearly not socially distancing, they were also in violation of numerous of Governor Ige’s emergency rules, such as having boats less than 20-feet apart.

Gov. Ige said, “As you remember the sacrifices of our service members and celebrate graduates this weekend, please remember to have fun safely. Connect with friends and loved ones in ways that protect yourselves, your loved ones and our community. We’re all in this together and can keep our success going if we remind each other to keep up with safe practices.”

The emergency rules disallow gatherings of more than 10 people and require six feet of social distance unless they are members of the same family. Dr. Bruce Anderson, Dept. of Health Administrator said, “Please, please, if you have young people in your family, talk to them about how important social distancing is right now. The last thing anyone wants to happen is to have an asymptomatic family member infect aunty or uncle, grandmother or grandfather.”

Following this consistent direction has resulted in one of the lowest infection rates and death rates in the nation. This good news means each of us is doing our part with safe practices. Let’s ALL keep the positive streak going.

# # #

RESOURCES

(Video courtesy: Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center)

HD video – Maunalua Bay mini-flotilla (May 21, 2020)

https://vimeo.com/421677479

PDF: Holiday weekend is not the time to let our guard down

California woman arrested for travel quarantine violation

HONOLULU – A 51-year old woman from Moorpark, CA was arrested this morning by a team of Special Agents from the Investigations Division of the Department of the Attorney General for violating the State’s 14-day travel quarantine.

Investigators say Misty Lynn Beutler arrived in Honolulu on May 9 to stay with her son at a Hawai‘i Kai condominium. A resident of the complex reported seeing the woman and her son unloading luggage that day. Two days later, the same witness reported seeing the pair enter the condo lobby carrying beach equipment. Then on Wednesday, the witness said she saw Beutler walking her son’s dog.

This morning investigators went to the complex to interview witnesses. As they were doing so, they saw Beutler and her son come out of the elevator and attempt to walk out of the building. She was arrested, booked and charged. Her bail is set at $2,000.

Hawai‘i Attorney General Clare Connors commented, “We again ask all visitors and returning residents to follow both the 14-day quarantine rule and all emergency rules in place right now. In addition to my office, law enforcement agencies across the State have cited hundreds of people for emergency rules violations and have made dozens of arrests for violating the travel quarantine. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation in these efforts.”

#  #  #

PDF: CA woman arrested for quarantine violation

Hawaii COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 21, 2020

Governor’s Office:

Update on Interisland Travel Quarantine

Hawai‘i is now in the “Act with Care,” phase two of the overall, “Beyond Recovery,” reopening strategy for the state. Governor Ige announced at an afternoon news briefing that he has been working closely with the counties on opening up businesses and activities, and lifting the 14-day quarantine for interisland travel is top-of-mind for many people. Governor Ige said, ”Health measures are pointing in the right direction to make this move…with infection levels appearing to be under control across the state.” He explained this is important to avoid a high level of cases in one county from impacting another county as people begin to travel. Key issues under discussion with the counties and airlines include, screening, testing, contact tracing and physical distancing. The governor concluded, “We are also going through the process of identifying other potential issues and welcome any thoughts or suggestions.” Governor Ige said when the interisland travel quarantine is lifted there will likely be additional COVID-19 cases, and we have the capacity to handle it. If a new surge occurs, some restrictions might need to be reinstated. He encouraged everyone to continue engaging in best practies like maintaining social distancing, washing hands, wearing masks, avoiding large gatherings and staying home when sick. (Please see additional, related items below)

 

Lieutenant Governor’s Office

Healthcare Capacity in Good Shape for Resumption of Interisland Travel

Governor Ige commended Lt. Governor Josh Green for his role in establishing a free clinic in Kalihi to help those who’ve been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the news briefing Green reported Hawai‘i has had 68 new coronavirus cases in the past month (since April 21) and 21 cases in the past two weeks. He said the state’s hospital system is in great shape, with 39% of intensive care unit beds occupied, 51% of total hospital beds in use, and only 9% of the available ventilators in use. He also indicated that the supply of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers is adequate, but a team he is leading is continually monitoring and ordering additional PPE as needed. Additionally the team is working to build up inventory in the event of a “worst case scenario”… a major outbreak in the state. He says from a medical standpoint, we need to continue to rely on public health officials to provide guidance on when it’s safe to lift quarantines. From a compassion standpoint he talked about several recent incidents in which family members needed to fly between islands for sick or dying relatives.

 

Department of Health:

Four New Cases of COVID-19 Reported

Hawai‘i island has three (3) new cases of COVID-19 and Maui has one (1) new coronavirus case. Three of the most recently reported cases are adults and one is a minor. Three are Hawai‘i residents and one is a non-resident.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, May 21, 2020

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since

2/28/2020

(including new cases)

Total Released from Isolation*
O‘ahu 0 416 385
Hawai‘i 3 82 76
Maui 1 116 98
Kaua‘i 0 21 20
Moloka‘i 0 2 2
Lana‘i 0 0 0
Residents Diagnosed outside HI 0 10  
Unknown 0 0  
Total** 4 647  
Total released from isolation     579
Deaths 0 17  

* Includes cases that meet isolation release criteria. Cases that have died and one case that left the jurisdiction have been removed from these counts.

Laboratory* Testing Data

There were 615 additional COVID-19 tests reported via electronic laboratory reporting.

Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories Positive Negative
42,693** 645 42,023

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting  **25 test results were inconclusive

Hawaiicovid19.com

COVID-19 Epidemic Curve May 21, 2020

For more tables visit: https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/

Health Considerations for Travel Between Islands

DOH Director, Dr. Bruce Anderson revealed conditions that will be necessary for lifting interisland travel restrictions. He said the health department is actively working with a variety of partners like the departments of transportation and attorney general on requirements aimed at minimizing risks.

  • Disease incidence remains low and capacity to investigate and quickly respond to new cases
  • Accurate and complete passenger declaration forms are submitted
  • Passengers subject to mandatory quarantine are identified and final destination confirmed
  • Departure thermal screening
  • Passengers with elevated temperatures are not allowed to board, evaluated, and offered testing if appropriate

Anderson added that it is critically important to maintain the 14-day quarantine for mainland visitors. He said once the procedures are finalized and implemented, lifting the 14-day quarantine for interisland travel will provide a good test to determine the risks and concerns with opening up travel from domestic and international destinations.

COVID-19 Testing Capacity Now up to Total of 3,620 Tests Per Day

In-state COVID-19 testing capabilities have been a top concern throughout the pandemic, but an assessment of statewide testing capacity this week shows there are ample supplies of tests that can be conducted in Hawai‘i. It means Hawai‘i residents can breathe a sigh of relief. Healthcare providers can now consider testing patients whom they suspect may be infected to ensure rapid identification of cases. This is a shift in the DOH’s earlier guidance that required specific symptoms and epidemiological criteria before testing. In the past three weeks, the number of sites conducting tests has increased from five to 11, and testing is now available in all four counties, including on all of the Neighbor Islands. According to data compiled by DOH, as of Monday, May 18, Hawai‘i has more than 38,300 COVID-19 tests on hand and is performing an average of 690 tests each day, with test results available the same day or by the next day. The maximum turnaround time is three days. The number of staff trained to perform the tests has also doubled, jumping from 68 to 135 within the past month.

“The compilation of data provides a realistic snapshot of the state’s overall testing capacity,” said Dr. Edward Desmond, State Laboratories Division (SLD) administrator, who compiled the data. “If necessary, the state has the capability to cumulatively ramp up to 3,620 tests a day, and this number is expected to significantly increase over the next three weeks.

 

Department of Transportation:

More on Lifting the Interisland Quarantine

DOT is proactively researching thermal temperature scanning equipment, after the legislature helped secure funds to cover some of the costs. He reiterated some of the conditions that will be necessary for reopening of interisland travel: temperature checks and new specific interisland travel forms. He said additional discussions are ongoing to identify other potential issues. Sakahara also thanked members of the Hawai‘i National Guard for their help in taking the temperatures of all airport passengers.

 

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:

1,099 Passengers Arrive on Wednesday

Today marks two months since the State’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for all passengers arriving in Hawai‘i from out of state. Yesterday, 1,099 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 290 visitors and 361 returning residents. There was a total of 17 arriving flights. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday but does not show interisland travel.

AIRPORT ARRIVALS FOR WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2020

  KONA MAUI O‘AHU LĪHUʻE TOTAL
Crew 2 6 123 7 138
Exempt     27   27
Military     61   61
Relocate to Hawai‘i   1 99 15 115
Returning Resident   12 337 12 361
Transit     107   107
Visitor 5 14 265 6 290
GRAND TOTAL 7 33 1,019 40 1,099
Flights 1 1 14 1 17

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4608/052120-passenger-count-press-release.pdf

 

Department of the Attorney General:

Arizona Visitor Posts Hawaii Excursions, Takes a Job and is Arrested

Wednesday afternoon, Special Agents from the Investigation Division of the Dept. of the Attorney General arrested an 18-year-old woman on charges of violating the State’s mandatory 14-day-quarantine rule and for unsworn falsification to authority. Alyza Alder, of Gilbert, AZ, was taken into custody at a fast food restaurant in Lāiʻe, after a citizen notified authorities that she was allegedly in violation of emergency rules. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority assisted law enforcement on this case. Alder arrived on O‘ahu on May 6 and allegedly began posting photos of herself swimming off beaches in Lāʻie and Hau‘ula between May 8 and yesterday. Investigators say while she still should have been under quarantine, she took employment at the restaurant. She has been booked and charged and her bail is set at $2,000. State Attorney General Clare Connors reiterated, “We are asking everyone – returning residents and visitors – to abide by our state’s 14-day self-quarantine order. The 14-day self-quarantine rules protect everyone’s health and safety. As we’ve said before, if you come to Hawai‘i with the expectation that you can ignore the self-quarantine order, you very likely will be reported, arrested and end up in jail facing hefty fines. All of us must do our part to protect ourselves, our families, friends and guests.”

https://governor.hawaii.gov/newsroom/latest-news/hawaii-covid-19-joint-information-center-news-release-arizona-visitor-arrested-for-quarantine-violation-may-21-2020/

 

Department of Labor and Industrial Relations:

Hawai‘i’s Unemployment Rate at 22.3 percent in April

Hawai‘i’s unemployment rate stood at 22.3 percent in April. The number was announced by DLIR Thursday. The historic increase from the revised rate of 2.4 percent in March reflects the economic impact of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i. Statewide, 487,500 were employed and 139,000 unemployed in April for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 627,450. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 14.7 percent in April, rising from 4.4 percent in March.

http://labor.hawaii.gov/blog/news/hawaiis-unemployment-rate-at-22-3-in-april/

 

Department of Public Safety:

Hawai‘i Island Inmates Sew and Donate Cloth Masks for Those in Need

Inmates in the Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center (HCCC) and Kulani Correctional Facility (KCF) sewing program have made 920 cloth face coverings for those in need in the community. Thursday was the final day of distribution. The masks were made with materials donated by people. KCF Warden Wanda Craig said, “The men assisted in choosing what organizations the masks would be delivered to and worked hard to quickly finish sewing them so they could be delivered to community organizations this week. They are thankful to be given an opportunity to use their recently learned sewing skills to give something positive back to the community.” Inmates at different facilities across the state are altogether hoping to produce more than 300,000 masks for sale by the end of June. If you’d like to place an order, call 808-677-6638 or by email at psd.hawaiici@hawaii.gov

For more information: https://dps.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/PSD-RELEASE-BI-Inmates-sew-and-donate-cloth-masks-5.21.20.pdf

Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center and Kulani Correctional Facility inmates sewed and donated masks

Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center and Kulani Correctional Facility inmates sewed and donated masks

#  #  #

PDF: COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 21, 2020

Hawai‘i Department of Health reports COVID-19 testing capacity now up to total of 3,620 tests per day in all four counties as the state begins to reopen

HONOLULU — In-state COVID-19 testing capabilities have been a top concern throughout the pandemic, but an assessment of statewide testing capacity this week shows there are ample supplies of tests that can be conducted in Hawai‘i.

It means Hawai‘i residents can breathe a sigh of relief. Healthcare providers can now consider testing patients whom they suspect may be infected to ensure rapid identification of cases. This is a shift in the Hawai‘i Department of Health’s earlier guidance that required specific symptoms and epidemiological criteria before testing.

In the past three weeks, the number of sites conducting tests has increased from five to 11, and testing is now available in all four counties, including on all of the Neighbor Islands.

One of the critical requirements for the state to confidently and safely continue its path to fully reopen is readily accessible COVID-19 tests for all who meet recommended testing criteria, with test results available within 48 hours.

According to data compiled by DOH, as of Monday, May 18, Hawai‘i has more than 38,300 tests on hand for COVID-19 tests and is performing an average of 690 tests each day, with test results available the same day or by the next day. The maximum turnaround time is three days. The number of staff trained to perform the tests has also doubled, jumping from 68 to 135 within the past month.

“The compilation of data provides a realistic snapshot of the state’s overall testing capacity,” said Dr. Edward Desmond, State Laboratories Division (SLD) administrator, who compiled the data. “If necessary, the state has the capability to cumulatively ramp up to 3,620 tests a day, and this number is expected to significantly increase over the next three weeks.”

In addition to the SLD, 10 laboratories (three public health and seven private sector) and healthcare facilities on O‘ahu and the neighbor islands currently are testing collected specimens. Private laboratories include Clinical Labs of Hawaii, Diagnostic Laboratory Services, and S&G Labs in Kona. Healthcare facilities include Kaiser Permanente and Adventist Health Castle.

Desmond added Hawai‘i initially sent tests to mainland labs to determine if individuals were COVID-19 positive and there was a backlog and results could take up to a week to receive.

“As a state, we’ve come a long way in a relatively short time to become more self-sufficient,” he said. “We initially had several hundred specimens waiting to be tested at mainland labs. That number has dropped to just 60 outstanding, untested specimens because our need to send samples to the mainland has been greatly reduced because of our in-state capabilities.”

#  #  #

PDF: Hawai’i Department of Health reports COVID-19 testing capacity now up to total of 3620 tests per day in all four counties as the state begins to reopen

Arizona visitor posts Hawai‘i excursions, takes a job and is arrested

HONOLULU – Wednesday afternoon, Special Agents from the Investigation Division of the Dept. of the Attorney General arrested an 18-year-old woman on charges of violating the State’s mandatory 14-day-quarantine rule and for unsworn falsification to authority.

Alyza Alder, of Gilbert, AZ, was taken into custody at a fast food restaurant in Laie, after a citizen notified authorities that she was allegedly in violation of emergency rules. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority assisted law enforcement on this case.

Alder arrived on O‘ahu on May 6 and allegedly began posting photos of herself swimming off beaches in Lāʻie and Hau‘ula between May 8 and yesterday. Investigators say while she still should have been under quarantine, she took employment at the restaurant. She has been booked and charged and her bail is set at $2,000.

State Attorney General Clare Connors reiterated, “We are asking everyone – returning residents and visitors – to abide by our state’s 14-day self-quarantine order. The 14-day self-quarantine rules protect everyone’s health and safety. As we’ve said before, if you come to Hawai‘i with the expectation that you can ignore the self-quarantine order, you very likely will be reported, arrested and end up in jail facing hefty fines. All of us must do our part to protect ourselves, our families, friends and guests.”

# # #

PDF: Arizona Woman Arrested for Emergency Rules Violations May 21, 2020

Signers of the Times

The critical role of sign-language interpreters, especially during public health emergencies.

Governor with ASL interpreter

You’ve seen them at every media briefing given by the governor, the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) and other state officials throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Standing a minimum six-feet distance from presenters and in front of cameras to speak directly to the public, they listen carefully to everything the speakers say and immediately communicate the same vital information in American Sign Language to viewers who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing. They all deserve our gratitude and honored place on this pandemic’s list of unsung heroes.

We’re, of course, praising the hard-working sign-language interpreters, whose collective expertise and skills have been critical to the state’s COVID-19 public information efforts over the past three months, and much longer than that for communications needs during natural disasters.

The sign language interpreters at media briefings are an important component of DOH’s Disability and Communication Access Board (DCAB). Its overall mission and goals include serving as a public advocate for persons with disabilities, establishing guidelines for the design of state and county buildings to provide equal access, and issuing administrative rules for utilizing communication access services. The last of these include sign language interpreters, real-time TV broadcast captioners and computer-assisted notetakers.

We asked Colin Whited, DCAB’s ADA Coordinator, to talk about the importance of providing sign-language translation at media briefings and the skills required of the best interpreters.

What are some guidelines the DCAB follows in its hiring of sign-language interpreters?

Colin: Our guidelines include determining the qualifications of interpreters who may be called upon to provide services and their credentials if they do not hold national Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf certification via a state screening process. During the COVID-19 pandemic, DCAB worked with the State and each of the counties to ensure communication access is provided during programs and services for individuals who are Deaf, hard-of-hearing or Deaf-Blind. With social distancing measures in place, this service is especially important.

How have interpreters become even more integral to the state government’s communication efforts during the pandemic?

Colin: Especially during daily press conferences with their rapidly changing information, sign-language interpreters have been critical in receiving and providing effective communication. We appreciate interpreters who possess – and work to maintain – essential skills for interpreting during live emergency video programming. We also applaud interpreters who are willing to put themselves in high-risk situations, such as interpreting for someone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 during a medical examination. We also commend state and local government entities who have secured sign-language interpreting services for their commitment to ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Have physical-distancing requirements necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way technology is being utilized by individuals with disabilities?

Colin: Physical-distancing measures have made those with disabilities, and society overall, more reliant upon the internet to access information. This is also especially true with the way the state and county governments share resources and make announcements online. DCAB works with each to ensure their content is accessible for individuals with communication disabilities. Additionally, there are sign-language interpreters who, like many of us right now, are cautious about contracting COVID-19 and reluctant to accept in-person jobs. More interpreters have adapted to this by providing their services via video remote interpreting (VRI), which uses web cameras or other video devices to provide sign-language or spoken-language interpreting services.

Q&A: Patty Sakal, Sign-Language Interpreter, Hawaii Interpreting Services

ASL interpreter signing in front of governor and podium

Patty Sakal is a familiar face to folks who tune in to the near-daily COVID-19 media briefings led by Gov. David Ige and City and County of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Indeed, with more than 35 years of experience as an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, it’s likely you’ve seen Patty hard at work during countless televised or live-streamed state and county briefings quietly, yet expressively, interpreting the words of officials into ASL for Hawaii residents who are Deaf, hard-of-hearing or Deaf and Blind. We spoke with Patty to learn about the responsibility she feels interpreting important real-time information on COVID-19 for viewers in sign language and what she appreciates most about her work.

There’s so much information being communicated at these COVID-19 media briefings. What goes through your mind as you interpret?

Patty: The first thing I tell myself is, “Stay calm, breathe.” After all, it’s live TV … OMG! The news conferences are teamed with two interpreters switching at 15-minute intervals. Because the interpretation process is simultaneous, interpreting from one language to another – from spoken English language to American Sign Language – is very taxing on the mind as it is a complicated process. Having two interpreters supporting each other during that complex process assures that the integrity of the message remains consistent throughout from beginning to end.

Describe the mental and physical feelings at work as you interpret at these briefings.

Patty: I would describe this as being “in the zone.” For me, “in the zone” is a hyper-autopilot (mode) where I shut everything that’s “me” out. The most important component for me when I’m in the zone is the integrity of the message delivered in American Sign Language, and the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community having access to the same message in real time.”

What’s the best part of your job?

Patty: It’s knowing that the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community in Hawaii whose first language is ASL have equal access to vital information that will keep them safe. The personal love of my job is its diversity – the complexities of ASL, where no concept is ever without expression; and having a job where no two days of work are the same. Doing this allows me to honor and carry the rich Deaf heritage of ASL and Deaf culture given to me by my parents.

The DOH extends a gracious mahalo to all of Hawaii’s ASL interpreters for their diligence and accuracy in providing immediate and effective ASL translation to our Deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

 

Hawaii COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 20, 2020

Department of Health:

Two New Cases of COVID-19 Reported

O‘ahu and Hawai‘i island each have a new positive coronavirus case according to the latest count from DOH. One of the cases is an adult and the other is a minor. The investigation of these cases is ongoing, and it’s not known whether either of the cases was travel-associated or community-associated.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, May 20, 2020

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since

2/28/2020

(including new cases)

Total Released from Isolation*
O‘ahu 1 416 385
Hawai‘i 1 79 76
Maui 0 115 95
Kaua‘i 0 21 20
Moloka‘i 0 2 2
Lana‘i 0 0 0
Residents Diagnosed outside HI 0 10  
Unknown 0 0  
Total** 2 643  
Total released from isolation     578
Deaths 0 17  

* Includes cases that meet isolation release criteria. Cases that have died and one case that left the jurisdiction have been removed from these counts.

Laboratory* Testing Data

There were 819 additional COVID-19 tests reported via electronic laboratory reporting.

Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories Positive Negative
42,024** 641 41,335

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting  **28 test results were inconclusive

HawaiiCOVID19.com

For more tables visit: https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/

Resilience Hubs Continue to Distribute PPE Donations

To help protect essential workers who provide mental health services and their patients, DOH and the Behavioral Health and Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group (BHHSURG) are coordinating the distribution of donated personal protective equipment (PPE) across the state. So far, more than 12,000 surgical masks, among other items, have been donated to one of three drop-off and distribution sites, or “resilience hubs,” on Oʻahu. “We’d like to thank the community for their generous spirit and outpouring of Aloha. The donations allow our providers to safely ensure a continuity of care while keeping our staff and clients protected,” said Eddie Mersereau, Department of Health Deputy Director of Behavioral Health.

Donated PPE are being used by behavioral health and homelessness service providers working across the state, including at the Hawai‘i State Hospital and the Temporary Quarantine and Isolation Center on O‘ahu. A partnership with the Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute will begin establishing additional resilience hubs on Neighbor Islands to receive donated PPE.

Donations of homemade and unopened store-bought PPE such as masks, goggles, gloves and face shields continue to be welcomed. In addition, the resilience hubs are now accepting sanitation supplies including bleach, disinfecting wipes, paper towels, and toilet paper.

To date, the resilience hubs have received:

  • 12,153 Unused and Unopened Surgical Masks
  • 8,735 Pairs of Disposable Gloves
  • 7,069 N95 Masks
  • 288 Homemade Masks
  • 590 Unused Medical Gowns
  • 204 Homemade or Locally Manufactured Face Shields
  • 315 Pairs of Unused Eyewear or Goggles

To learn more about this initiative or for other ways to provide community support during this time, please visit https://bhhsurg.hawaii.gov/.

 

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:

Please Note: New Travel Declaration form

A new mandatory travel declaration is now in use at Hawai‘i’s airports to collect passenger information which helps authorities monitor people subject to the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine order. The agencies involved are adjusting to the added information collected which may require additional time to analyze and input the data. Passenger information, from both incoming out of state and interisland travelers, will be included in the Daily News Digest as it is received.

Monday’s Hawai‘i Passenger Arrivals By Air

On Monday 1,093 people arrived in Hawai‘i. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state on May 18 and does not include interisland travel. This data was collected from the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new Mandatory Travel Declaration Form.

AIRPORT ARRIVALS FOR MONDAY, MAY 18 2020

  KONA MAUI O‘AHU LĪHUʻE TOTAL
Crew   7 126   133
Exempt     44   44
Military     63   63
Relocate to Hawai‘i   8 76   84
Returning Resident   48 344   392
Transit     68   68
Visitor   33 276   309
GRAND TOTAL 0 96 997 0 1093
Flights 0 1 14 0 15

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/news/alerts/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/

 

Hawai‘i State Senate:

Ways and Means Committee to Discuss Economic Recovery for State

The State is facing significant challenges with revenues and unemployment due to COVID-19. The Senate Committee on Ways and Means will meet Thursday at 1 p.m., to discuss a framework to address the pandemic’s impact on the state’s revenues, discuss an economic framework to recovery, and hear from specific entities that can reshape a new economy for the state. The State Capitol is still closed during the ongoing pandemic, but anyone may view the livestream briefing at: http://olelo.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=13

 

Hawai‘i House of Representatives:

Informational Briefing Held on Recent Inmate Release

The House Committee on Public Safety, Veterans, and Military Affairs held an information briefing Wednesday afternoon, to get an update on the release of inmates in an effort to reduce correctional facility populations statewide to mitigate COVID-19 risks. Those who provided testimony include Judge Dan Foley, Attorney General Clare Connors, Public Defender James Tabe, County Prosecutors, and Dennis Dunn, the Director of Victim Witness Kokua Services.

https://www.hawaiihousedemocrats.com/post/house-select-committee-on-covid-19-to-hear-update-on-inmate-releases

House Speaker to Appear on PBS Insights

House Speaker Scott Saiki is set to appear on PBS Insights Thursday at 8 p.m. He’ll be joined by Lt. Gov. Josh Green, Infectious Disease Expert, Dr. Erlaine Bello, and a representative from the Hawai‘i Restaurant Association, to discuss re-opening the economy and the work of the House Select Committee on the Economy and Financial Preparedness. Viewers can phone in questions or leave a comment on PBS’ Facebook or Twitter. It’ll also be streamed live:

https://www.pbshawaii.org/

# # #

PDF: COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 20, 2020

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