Governor Ige Sends Message to State Employees
To all my fellow employees of the State of Hawaiʻi. These are very challenging times, and your efforts and dedication are helping to shepherd our community through the COVID-19 crisis. Many of you were informed recently by your union or read the news reports of proposed budget cuts. Let me be very frank with you, due to this crisis the main sources of state revenue have been drastically reduced. And state government needs to look very different going forward. I have begun initial conversations with the Legislature and the unions that represent you, but no decisions have been made yet. These discussions are ongoing and we will keep you informed and updated on what this means for you in the days to come.
I wish that I could speak to each of you personally and express my heartfelt thanks for your hard work and commitment to the people of Hawaiʻi. I am very proud of everything that we have accomplished. And I know that, together, we will defeat this pandemic and protect the health of our families, friends and neighbors. Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. And, most importantly, take care of our community. The following link is to a video message from me that expresses my gratitude for everything that you do.
Department of Health:
Thirteen (13) New Cases of COVID-19 Reported
All of the 13 additional cases of COVID-19 reported by DOH are adults and all but one are Hawai‘i residents. The place of residence of one person is under investigation. There is an even split between infection risk factors, with travel-association noted in six (6) cases, and community-spread also at six (6). Risk factor for one person is unknown at this time.
LABORATORY TESTING DATA
|Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories||Positive||Negative|
35 test results were inconclusive
HAWAI‘I COVID-19 COUNTS AS OF 12:00 NOON, APRIL 15, 2020
|Island of Diagnosis||New Cases||Reported since
(including new cases)
|Total Released from Isolation|
|Moloka‘i||0||2||Included in Maui numbers|
|Lana‘i||0||0||Included in Maui numbers|
|Residents Diagnosed outside HI||0||6|
|Total released from isolation||359|
** Refers to positive cases that have an unknown county of diagnosis at the time of this report. As more information becomes available for these cases, they are assigned to the proper County of Diagnosis. A negative number indicates the number of previously unknown cases that have now been assigned to a county.
Hale Makua Health Services on Maui Impacted by COVID-19 Positive Cases
Hale Makua Health Services received word from DOH that one home health patient has tested COVID-19 positive, and that one of six of its nursing home residents who were potentially exposed during their stay at Maui Memorial Medical Center (MMMC) prior to being admitted to Hale Makua Kahului has tested positive. The nursing home resident who tested positive, initially received a negative test result on April 9. Because this individual was treated on the MMMC unit with the COVID-19 positive cluster of workers, the resident was re-tested on April 13, which resulted in the current positive received today. The resident is currently asymptomatic and in isolation.
On April 11 Hale Makua Health Services was notified by DOH that six (6) nursing home residents were potentially exposed to COVID-19. Since then the resident noted above had a second test administered, which came back positive. The five other nursing home residents recently admitted from MMMC tested negative, have been in isolation since April 12, are being retested, and are currently asymptomatic. Based upon DOH’s recommendation, all of these residents have been moved to a separate wing for 14-day quarantine in private rooms with droplet precautions. All residents and staff who may have been exposed will be tested for COVID-19. Home Health by Hale Makua is caring for its first positive COVID-19 patient. This patient presented with symptoms of COVID-19 after being discharged from the hospital, and was under observation by the DOH until being released from isolation on April 14. Out of an abundance of caution, all employees who had any contact with the patient are also self-isolating and have been tested.
Update on Kona Restaurant Cases
There are no new cases associated with the cluster at McDonald’s restaurants at Kailua-Kona on Hawai‘i Island. DOH is continuing to monitor all six (6) employees and six (6) family members who are in isolation or quarantine (one employee was counted as a household member, was quarantined before identification as a case and was likely exposed at home rather than work). The department is continuing to work with McDonald’s to ensure appropriate infection control measures are in place when the restaurants reopen. DOH is reiterating that
there is low risk to the public, as only workers or their family members are involved, and when open the restaurants were taking necessary physical distancing measures to protect customers.
Medical Reserve Corps has Successful Kick-off
In the first 24 hours since HAH and DOH put out the call for volunteers, medical professionals and others, 111 people have responded. Mahalo, and if you have skills and/or time to devote please register: www.nlk.doh.hawaii.gov.
Department of Defense:
800 Additional National Guard Members Put on Mission
The Hawai‘i National Guard is increasing its personnel to 1,200 Guardsmen to help with the COVID-19 response. Last week, 400 Soldiers and Airmen were activated, meaning a total of 800 more Guardsmen will be brought on status to assist by tomorrow. National Guard Commanders for each island have been in contact with the county mayors and emergency management team to best help the state in its COVID-19 response. Joint Task Force Commander Brig. Gen. Moses Kaoiwi Jr. said: “I am confident that by working together, we will meet our objectives of continuing to flatten the curve and create a safe and secure environment for the people of Hawai‘i.” The National Guard has received federal funding to assist in pay and allowances for Soldiers and Airmen.
Soldiers Returning to Hawai‘i After Deployment
A Hawaiʻi Army National Guard unit, the 1st Battalion, 487th Field Artillery, is returning home Wednesday night from a year-long deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq. About 300 Soldiers are taking a chartered flight from Fort Bliss, Texas to reunite with their families at a National Guard facility. Only two members from each Soldier’s family will be allowed to attend the reunion and they will have to stay in their cars the entire time to ensure social-distancing rules. The Soldiers completed a 14-day quarantine before leaving Texas. Once arriving in Hawaiʻi, they will be subject to the governor’s stay-at-home order.
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:
Hotels for Heroes Provides Nearly 1,000 Rooms So Far
The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB), and the Hawai‘i Lodging and Tourism Association (HLTA) have developed the Hotels for Heroes program that’s providing complimentary rooms for health care workers and first responders during the COVID-19 crisis. State tourism dollars are being used to pay for these hotel rooms. The program started on Monday, April 6. This table shows the number of room nights booked so far.
HOTEL FOR HEROES AS OF APRIL 13, 2020
|Total Booked to date||923|
512 Passenger Arrivals for Tuesday, April 14
Yesterday, 512 people arrived in Hawaiʻi, including 119 visitors and 174 residents. In comparison, 30,000 people arrived daily during this same time last year. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday and does not include interisland travel.
|Intended New Resident||6||43||49|
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism:
DBEDT is reporting the following interisland passenger numbers for Hawai‘i airports on April 12, 2020.
Department of Transportation:
COVID-19 Crisis Postpones Dillingham Actions
DOT’s Airports Division has notified tenants of Dillingham Airfield the termination of their permits at the facility has been rescinded due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. DOT’s goal is to terminate the lease with the U.S. Army by June 30, 2021 and expects that all tenant permits will be terminated by that date, at the latest. Tenants may use this additional time to make alternative arrangements. All terms, conditions, and requirements of the tenants’ permits remain in effect.
Department of Education:
Alternative graduation honors planned
After much consideration and discussion, DOE has determined that traditional commencement ceremonies at public and charter schools will be replaced with alternative celebrations for the class of 2020 due to safety concerns and social distancing guidance. Schools will honor their seniors through different models of celebrations, which will be announced next week. “Graduation is considered a major milestone in any academic journey. In Hawaiʻi these celebrations are uniquely special with a long-standing tradition of families coming together to celebrate, giving towering amounts of lei, and enjoying each other’s company — something we are all missing during this time,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said.
Department of Labor and Industrial Relations:
Hawai‘i Unemployment Filings at 237,048
The DLIR has taken 237,048 initial filings since March 1 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of those initial claims were filed via a web form that was made available on March 23. All claims will be honored from the date of separation, if eligible. Governor Ige announced during his daily media briefing that last week, more than $11 million in benefits was distributed – with $7.7 million sent out yesterday alone. The governor said, “The system was initially unable to handle the increased volume of claims. But it has been upgraded and we are diligently working on increasing and improving the filing and processing of new claims. A step-by-step guide is available to walk individuals through the process of filing, certifying and obtaining unemployment benefits at: http://labor.hawaii.gov/blog/main/covid-19-how-to-obtain-unemployment-ins-benefits/. Yesterday, a web portal went live that gives claimants the ability to check on the status of their claims at https://huiclaims2020.hawaii.gov/status. In addition, three distinct email addresses are available for claimants with specific challenges with their claims and are processed by the offices in Līhuʻe, Kona and Hilo:
- This email address is for those who would like to have their claim backdated. firstname.lastname@example.org
- This email address is for those who have received an email, letter, or other message that says that they are disqualified from UI. email@example.com
- This email address is for those who would like to request language assistance from UI. Individuals are to submit their full name, telephone number (including area code), and the language that would like to receive interpretation services for.
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