Friday, September 11, 2020

Coronavirus infections trending downward in Hawaii, Oahu opens hotels to COVID-19 quarantiners, Health Department whistleblower speaks out, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Department of Health
Coronavirus epi curve as of Sept 10, 2020 Hawaii Department of Health
DOH Reports Overall Decline in COVID-19 Cases Statewide. Hawai‘i is beginning to regain control of the spread of COVID-19 after nearly six weeks of elevated case numbers throughout the state. Big Island Now.

DOH: COVID-19 case numbers appear to be declining. After weeks of increased COVID-19 cases, the state Department of Health said Thursday that Hawaii is beginning to turn the corner and regain control of the spread of the disease on all islands. Tribune-Herald.


Relief for nurses through federal support and lower COVID-19 cases. The Hawaii State Department of Health said COVID-19 cases are beginning to decline after a six-week surge in new cases, and 169 new cases were reported on Thursday and the decline in numbers is also being reflected at hospitals. KHON2.

Hawaii’s Health Department Received Millions In COVID-19 Grants. Where Is It Going? Competition for equipment and bureaucratic hurdles have slowed down spending meant to boost the state’s pandemic response. Civil Beat.

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Whistleblower says Hawaii Department of Health’s ‘toxic’ culture of fear impeded investigators’ work. State Department of Health whistleblower Jennifer Smith, the epidemiologist who was suspended with pay Friday after speaking out about the understaffing of COVID-19 contact tracers, says the DOH fostered a “toxic” culture of fear that impeded the work of investigators trying to stop the spread of disease. Star-Advertiser.

Health Dept Whistleblower Speaks Out About ‘Toxic Management Culture’. Jennifer Smith was placed on paid leave weeks after her revelations about the Department of Health led to the director and the state epidemiologist being replaced. Civil Beat.

'I’m not a threat’: DOH whistleblower responds to alleged smear campaign against her. The Health Department whistleblower who exposed the state’s woefully inadequate COVID-19 contact tracing efforts vigorously denied allegations she made violent threats against her colleagues and says she has endured “character attacks” after speaking out. Hawaii News Now.

State Health Department whistleblower speaks out. In her first on-camera interview since being suspended with pay Health Department whistleblower Dr. Jennifer Smith claims management facilitated a culture of bullying, shame, and blame within the department. KITV4.

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Money for $300 unemployment boost to run out after 6 weeks. The temporary $300-a-week unemployment insurance boost implemented by President Donald Trump is about to end, with no extension in sight. Associated Press.

Thousands of Local Jobs Available, Chamber Says. The overall Hawai‘i economy may be stalled, but some organizations are hiring – and not just in health care and home deliveries. Hawaii Business magazine.

$3 Billion in Unemployment Benefits Issued Since March 1. The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations today announced updated unemployment insurance claims information, including paying $3,081,193,375 and 3,155,245 weeks claimed since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic on March 1. Big Island Now.

Hawaii has nation’s highest ‘insured unemployment rate’. Unlike the more frequently reported seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, the insured unemployment rate represents the number of people receiving unemployment insurance as a percentage of the labor force. Star-Advertiser.

47 Hawaii restaurants have permanently closed since pandemic began. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic on Hawaii’s restaurant industry hits home most strongly when reading through the names of establishments that have closed. Star-Advertiser.


Those eligible for additional jobless benefits will be allowed to enroll starting Saturday. The state will launch a new online feature Saturday to allow those eligible for $300 in additional weekly jobless benefits to enroll. Hawaii News Now.

$10M Federal COVID-19 Grant Focuses On Teacher Training. An initial report lays out how Hawaii education leaders plan to use the CARES Act money. Civil Beat.

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Gov. David Ige signs bill to protect Hawaii musicians. With live musical performances effectively silenced by the pandemic, the state of Hawaii gave a boost to local musicians Thursday with the signing of a bill designed to protect them from having someone else fraudulently use their identity to promote a performance. Star-Advertiser.

Governor signs measure aimed at preserving ‘integrity’ of musicians' original works. The governor signed a measure into law Thursday that protects musicians against cover bands and imposters making money off their name. Hawaii News Now.

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VIRUS TRACKER — Sept. 10: 169 New Cases And 3 Deaths In Hawaii. The average number of daily cases has dropped from a peak of 250 in August to 156 last week. Civil Beat.

Hawaii sees 3 coronavirus-related deaths on Oahu and 169 new cases statewide. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawai‘i Department of Health reported 169 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, along with three COVID-related deaths. The statewide total of cases is now 10,292. Big Island Now.

Oahu

Federal Medical Team Deployed to Honolulu to Help with COVID-19 Surge Support. A federal medical team from the US Department of Health and Human Services began providing temporary medical surge support Thursday at the Queen’s Medical Center at Hale Pulama Mau and the Kuakini Medical Center in Honolulu. Maui Now.

HPD Is Getting Millions To Enforce The Shutdown While Aid For Struggling Residents Lags. Honolulu City Councilman Tommy Waters says the city’s priorities are backwards, pointing to money for police overtime and training, new ATVs and “paddy wagons,” among other items. Civil Beat.

Frustration builds for businesses that complied with CDC guidelines but still forced to close . Calls to reopen more businesses on Oahu continue. Business owners said they are frustrated because they have done everything required by the CDC but are forced to remain closed. KHON2.

City Council adopts resolution offering grants to commercial property owners. Honolulu City Council members have approved a resolution aiming to provide rent relief to businesses through a grant program for landlords. Star-Advertiser.

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Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green asks for loosening of latest Oahu stay-at-home order. Lt. Gov. Josh Green is asking city and state officials to change Oahu’s latest stay-at-home order to allow residents living in the same household to engage in outdoor activities together. Star-Advertiser.

How Oahu’s COVID-19 Park And Beach Restrictions Are Hurting Families. Parents say they are struggling to keep their children — and themselves — sane and healthy without regular access to outdoor spaces. Civil Beat.

Local COVID-19 survivor says she didn't take restrictions seriously. Sarah Bolles says she was going to social gatherings, putting herself at risk, and eventually ended up with a fever of over 104 degrees in the hospital. KITV4.

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Nearly 300 hotel rooms islandwide available for those who can’t quarantine at home. The Hawaii Department of Health is working with the city to isolate COVID-19 patients at a number of hotels. Hawaii News Now.

These Hotels Are Stepping Up To Help Hawaii’s Virus Control Effort. Some Hawaii hotels have repurposed rooms for people who need to be isolated or quarantined while they recover from COVID-19 or wait for a test result. Civil Beat.

Pearl Hotel Waikiki among four lodges assisting those in need of COVID-19 isolation. The Department of Health says it now has the capacity to offer enough bed space on Oahu to accommodate anyone who has nowhere else to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.

Four hotels on Oahu are stepping up to help people with COVID-19. If you tested positive for COVID-19 or are waiting for test results but can't safely quarantine at home, you may qualify to stay at an isolation location. KITV4.

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Dole School in Kalihi mourns death of staff member in home quarantine. A Dole Middle School employee who worked in the school’s office died Wednesday after being quarantined at home because of COVID-19 cases among staff members. Star-Advertiser.

A staff member at Dole Middle School has died after quarantining at home for COVID-19 following an outbreak at the school, according to the Hawaii State Teachers Association. KITV4.

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Rail Board Confronts Project’s Deepening Financial, Contract Concerns. HART members raised more questions about whether a public-private partnership is still in play and what a “plan B” might look like. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Nearly All Residents at Hilo Veterans Home Test Positive for COVID-19. Nearly all the residents at the veterans home in Hilo have tested positive for COVID-19.  Additionally, no deaths were reported on the Big Island Thursday. Big Island Now.

Review of veterans home COVID outbreak underway. A review is still underway into the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home COVID-19 outbreak response. Tribune-Herald.

A representative from the Department of Veterans Affairs is expected on site at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home. According to the Department of Health it's a two-day unannounced review that started on Friday on whether the facility is following state regulations. KITV4.

Hawai‘i Health Department Addresses Discrepancy in Hilo COVID-19 Deaths. The state Department of Health reports that it is aware of six additional deaths associated with COVID-19 at the Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home in Hilo; however, it is awaiting medical records from the facility as part of its official confirmation and documentation process. Maui Now.

Puna Geothermal Officials Take Questions Online. During a virtual community meeting on Wednesday, Sierra Club member Cory Harden had a lot of questions for PGV reps Mike Kaleikini and plant manager Jordan Hara. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Budget committee seeks public input. The Maui County Council’s Economic Development and Budget Committee will be discussing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, rules, the CARES Act and other related issues. Maui News.

Kula land to become recreation site. Public hiking trails, picnic spots and forest excursions are in the works for more than 3,000 acres of Upcountry forestland recently acquired by the state. Maui News.

Kauai

First coffee berry borer beetle detected on Kauai. The first coffee berry borer, a beetle that feeds on coffee berries and reduces both the yield of quality of coffee, has been found on Kauai, the state Department of Agriculture reported today. Star-Advertiser.

HDOA: Coffee berry borer confirmed on Kaua‘i. Yesterday, the state’s Department of Agriculture confirmed coffee berry borer, a devastating pest of coffee plants, has been detected on Kaua‘i, the first detection on the island. Garden Island.

Keahua bridge repairs with temporary blocked access. Heavy rains in March caused severe damage to Keahua Bridge at the entrance of the Lihu‘e-Koloa Forest Reserve. Due to structural damage, the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) blocked vehicular traffic until repairs are completed. Garden Island.

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