Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute is monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and we want to reassure you that we are here to help you navigate the confusion, and take steps to prevent COVID-19 from gaining a major foothold in Hawaiʻi. As of March 16, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health reported 10 ‘positive’ COVID-19 cases (presumptive and confirmed), and its first case of community spread. This is likely to continue increasing in the coming weeks.

We know you are looking for answers. Information is rapidly evolving and many health care facilities, businesses, non-profits, and educational institutes are working hard at contingency plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  Our policies continue to be updated but here is what we are currently doing to stay calm, stay informed and stay prepared:

Prevent the Spread:

  • All HIPHI work-related travel is immediately suspended.
  • As a proactive measure and effective immediately, we are canceling all events. Social distancing may be our best shot at decreasing the rate of infection (flattening the curve) and saving our medical system and countless lives. As of yesterday, all events of 10+ people should be cancelled or held remotely for the next 15 days.
  • HIPHI staff are working remotely for at least four weeks, however this may be extended.  HIPHI leadership will continue to monitor the situation locally and nationally and evaluate the status of returning to normal business hours. We strongly encourage all businesses that can support these policies to do the same.
  • HIPHI will conduct any meetings and presentations virtually for at least the next four weeks. This too will continue to be evaluated to determine when we may resume in-person meetings.
  • Any staff who had close, prolonged contact with someone suspected of having COVID-19 will be asked to go into self-isolation and monitor their symptoms for 14 days.
  • Any staff  experiencing symptoms are encouraged to get tested (see testing sites list below) and call your healthcare provider for medical advice.  If a health care provider is unavailable, staff is instructed to access urgent care facilities for help.  The CDC Recommendations website is a comprehensive resource  which describes in detail steps to take if one feels ill and /or had possible exposure.

Key Testing Sites (as of 3/16/2020). Click here for the full list of screening sites now available from the Department of Health.

  • Tripler Army Medical Center: Call ahead at (808) 433-6661.
  • Urgent Care Hawaiʻi: The company is offering drive-through testing in Pearl City, Kapolei and Kailua. Urgent Care Hawaiʻi says you must call your primary care physician for further assessment before coming to the facility for a test.
  • Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi: Temperature screenings are being conducted for those going to the hospital. For information on facilities and phone numbers, click here.
  • Queen’s Medical Center and Queen’s Island Urgent Cares: Call the Queen’s Medical physician hotline (808) 691-2619 for information on testing. If you’re experiencing shortness of breath, call 911.
  • Queen’s Medical Center-Punchbowl Triage Center: A tent has been erected at the hospital to conduct COVID-19 testing from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Only those with symptoms who are at risk of having COVID-19 should be tested.
  • Hawaiʻi Pacific Health facilities: Kapiolani Medical Center, Pali Momi Medical Center, Straub Medical Center on Oʻahu, Wilcox Medical Center, and Kauaʻi Medical Clinic on Kauaʻi encourage the public to call their doctor’s office or clinic first for advice before coming in.
  • Kāneʻohe Walgreens: Drive-through testing.

Stay Informed:

Visit the following key resources to stay up to date:

Support Each Other, and Hawaii’s Working Families:

  • During these difficult times, it is important to remember we in Hawaiʻi are a community. Please take care of yourself, your families, and your neighbors, and offer a helping hand where you can.
  • Support local businesses, they could use it now more than ever.
  • Read more on how HIPHI and 36 other organizations are coming together to request state support and solutions for Hawaii’s working families amidst the COVID-19 situation.

Mental Health

During this time individuals may feel anxious and/or lonely. There are resources that can help:

  • CDC.
  • SAMSHSA Disaster Distress and Mental Health.
  • Johns Hopkins.
  • Vanderbuilt University Medical Center.
  • Kaiser Permanente.
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.
  • Mental Health of America of Hawaiʻi:  Crisis line of Hawaii 808-832-3100 or Neighbor Islands 1-800-753-6879.
  • Extended Hours for Public Calls to AUW 2-1-1 on COVID-19.  Aloha United Way has extended its public call center hours to 7 a.m. – 10 p.m., 7 days a week. For more information or questions about COVID-19: Call 2-1-1 from any location in the state; Text 877-275-6569; Email info211@auw.org.

 

Together, we will get through this. Remember to be kind, lend a helping hand when you can, and mahalo for supporting public health efforts across the state and doing your part for yourself and your ‘ohana.

 

In Good Health,

Jessica Yamauchi
Exective Director