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COVID-19 News & Upcoming Changes

UPCOMING CHANGES

 

We continue to see immense community resilience as we navigate life with COVID-19. Many in-person events have resumed and we want to share and support opportunities to advance health in your homes, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, and communities. We will continue to keep you informed on COVID-19 resources, but will transition our bi-weekly COVID-19 updates with a bi-weekly public health updates to share current public health news, job and training opportunities, and community events.

FEDERAL UPDATES

 

Biden–Harris Administration Buys Updated Moderna & Pfizer Vaccine to Target Omicron 

The Biden administration is buying 66 million doses of updated Moderna and 105 million doses of Pfizer’s updated COVID-19 vaccine targeting the omicron variant ahead of a planned booster campaign expected in the early fall of 2022. The updated vaccine will specifically target the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of omicron.

New Report on Keiki Experiencing Health Conditions After COVID 

A new report on post-COVID-19 symptoms and conditions among children and adolescents found that those with previous COVID-19 had higher rates of other health conditions. As more research is being conducted on long COVID, parents and guardians are encouraged to see a healthcare provider if your child develops new or ongoing symptoms after testing positive for COVID-19.

Biden–Harris Administration Releases Two New Reports on Long COVID to Support Patients and Further Research

People with Long COVID have symptoms that persist for weeks or months after testing positive for COVID-19. It remains difficult to measure precisely, but an estimated 7.7 to 23 million Americans have developed Long COVID, and roughly one million people may be out of the workforce at any given time due to the condition. Learn more about the two reports and the plan of action to better understand prevention and treatment of Long COVID.

CDC Streamlines COVID-19 Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 guidance to be the same for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. The CDC recommends:

  • If you were exposed to COVID-19, you wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day 5.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you stay home for at least 5 days and isolate yourself from others in your home.
  • Staying up-to-date with vaccinations to protect people against serious illness, hospitalization, and death.

In response to local data including COVID-19 Community Levels, the state, counties and businesses can implement COVID-19 policies based on prevention actions needed. COVID-19 remains an ongoing public health threat, but we can all make individual decisions to protect our health and the health of those around us. If you have questions about how to best protect yourself, seek medical advice from your physician or call the free Hawai‘i COVID-19 hotline at (808) 586-8332. Please err on the side of caution when you are exposed to COVID-19, experiencing symptoms, or attending large community events. It is our kuleana (responsibility) to think about those who are most vulnerable in our community.

STATE UPDATES

Updated Guidance Documents for Schools & Parents/Guardians 

Visit hawaiicovid19.com/guidance-documents for updated guidance for K-12 schools which includes information on prevention, isolation and quarantine. Click on a document below to download:

Statewide COVID-19 Cases 

Data as of August 10 shows statewide 452 daily average cases and a 12.4 percent average positivity rate. There were also 14 new deaths and an average of 141 hospitalizations reported. You can follow the Hawai‘i Department of Health on Facebook and Instagram for weekly COVID-19 updates. View the full data dashboard at health.hawaii.gov/COVID19.   

 

Emergency Rules for Out-of-State Nurses

Due to serious staffing challenges, Governor Ige signed emergency rules authorizing out-of-state nurses to temporarily practice in Hawaiʻi upon meeting certain requirements without applying for and obtaining a license. This is effective immediately for a period of 120 days; this will assist the hospitals that continue to be full and have staff out due to COVID-19 exposures and infections. 

STATEWIDE RESOURCES

Back-to-School Toolkit

Returning to school this year still looks slightly different. COVID-19 is still circulating, but we have prevention strategies that we know work. Next Gen Hawaii’s Back-to-School toolkit is now available for sharing across all platforms and networks. The toolkit provides guidance on dealing with mental health and prevention practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when returning to school. This PSA provides their top tools, tips, and tricks to prepare you for a successful and healthy school year. 

 

COVID-19 PSA’s in Multiple Languages 

Project HEALINGS has created a series of COVID-19 Public-Service Announcement (PSA) videos to display the importance of getting vaccinated. You may download the videos by clicking here or on the image below. 

How Many COVID-19 Home Tests Should You Have?

When there is high COVID-19 Community Level and Omicron is circulating, some may be tempted to stockpile COVID self-test kits, but that can lead to a testing scarcity. The  CDC’s guidelines, state you should take a home test: 

  1. If you or a family member are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms 
  2. If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 (if a first test is negative, the CDC recommends testing again in 1 or 2 days), and then, 
  3. Before going to an indoor event or gathering, especially if people who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 may be present 

Given these guidelines, multiply those scenarios and perhaps a couple more if you’re planning on attending major events soon by the number of people in your household. A family of three, for example, may want to consider keeping 9 to 12 tests on hand. 

 

COVID-19 Tracker for Animals 

There is an interactive COVID-19 data tracking dashboard that shows clinical signs of COVID-19 infection or exposure in animals. This dashboard brings together data from multiple sources therefore people who make public health decisions or are interested in this topic can now interact with the data without needing to go to all of these different sources.

 

PACT Getting Ahead 

Parents And Children Together is starting a new virtual cohort of Getting Ahead that will be held on Tuesday mornings from 9:30 am – 12:00 am. 

  • Getting Ahead in the Workplace utilizes a nationally recognized curriculum designed for working class individuals; families may be employed but are still finding it difficult to “get ahead”.  
  • Getting Ahead assists individuals in building skills and resources that reduce instability, increase productivity, and create pathways for success.
  • Participants are also compensated for their time and efforts ($30 gift card per session: $480 total)! 

For eligibility and application information, click here

 

EmPOWER Grant for Small Businesses & Nonprofits

Hawai‘i small businesses and nonprofits continuing their recovery from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, grants may cover up to 100% of total project costs (up to $5,000) of an energy efficiency project. Learn more about eligibility and documentation needed to apply at hawaiienergy.com/for-business/empower-grant. All applications must be submitted by September 30, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. HST. For questions, contact Chester Carson at HE-Grants@Leidos.com

COUNTY UPDATES

Kaua‘i County

The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for emergency use and is a two-dose vaccine available to individuals 18 and older who have not previously received a COVID-19 vaccine of any kind. The second dose is given three to eight weeks after the first dose. Starting August 15, Kaiser Permanente in Līhu‘e will offer Novavax to members and non-members by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling (808) 432-2000. Find more information on vaccine clinics at kauai.gov/COVID-19

 

Maui County

Maui County residents may get a COVID-19 test at Mauliola Pharmacy in Wailuku and if positive, may receive prescription medication at the same location, free of charge. There is a simple three-step process: 

  1. Register online for an appointment for a free drive-up COVID-19 PCR test at solvhealth.com/book-online/A6Rzn8.
  2. If positive, you will be offered the option to receive Paxlovid, an oral COVID-19 antiviral medication, after being asked for your primary physician to provide important health information. Those without a physician will be asked to answer questions to help staff clinical pharmacists determine if Paxlovid is an appropriate treatment based on your current health status.
  3. Either your physician or the clinical pharmacist can prescribe Paxlovid, and your prescription can be dispensed on the spot.

The pharmacy is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. For more information, visit mauliolapharmacy.com or call the special COVID-19 information line at (808) 446-3722.

 

City & County of Honolulu

The Mediation Center of the Pacific has helped more than 1,100 landlords and tenants reach agreements and avoid evictions during the pandemic. They will continue to offer no-cost mediation to renters and landlords; translation support and internet and computer access is available to tenants who need it. For more information, call (808) 521-6767. 

The Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority (HPHA) is opening its Federal low-income public housing waitlist. The first one thousand (1,000) applications will be accepted for each waiting list. 

Leeward Family: 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom units

The online application portal will be open for five days starting on Monday, August 22, 2022, at 8:00 a.m. and closing on Friday, August 26, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. for the O‘ahu Leeward Federal public housing waitlist.

Windward Family: 2-bedroom units

The online application portal will be open for five days starting on Monday, August 29, 2022, at 8:00 a.m. and closing on Friday, September 2, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. for the Oahu Windward Federal public housing waitlist.

For more information and to see if you qualify, click here.

COMMUNITY VOICES MATTER

 

Amy Hebenstreit, MBA, BS, RN, CCRN was managing a local ICU in Hawai‘i during the second wave of COVID-19, also known as the Delta surge. She has been a registered nurse for 20 years and shares her experience in the ICU during the pandemic. From a multitude of challenges and unprecedented changes, there is one key lesson that Amy has taken from her experience.

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