Lauren Loor is the Statewide Program Manager for Healthy Eating + Active Living (HEAL) Initiative.…
February is Black History Month and this year’s theme, “Black Health and Wellness,” is especially timely as the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Black Americans and provides the latest example in a long history of systemic inequities they have experienced in the United States’ healthcare system.
In an October 2020 poll, seven out of ten Black Americans say they’re treated unfairly by the health care system, and 55 percent say they distrust it. Racism is a serious threat to public health and we encourage you to learn about the public health impact of racism. Further efforts are needed to document and understand the many reasons fueling medical mistrust of healthcare providers and institutions among Black patients and to find solutions by listening to Black voices.
We celebrate Black scholars and medical practitioners who have contributed many medical and scientific innovations in Western medicine. During the pandemic, COVID-19 vaccines have been a critical tool to reduce transmission and severe illness. The first development of a vaccine was in 1798. Prior to that in 1721, during a smallpox outbreak in Boston, Onesimus, an enslaved African, taught his master the method of inoculation. The technique remained the standard smallpox prevention until vaccinations became widely available. Onesimus is one of many Black Americans who broke barriers to improve the health of communities; learn more about the medical contributions of Black Americans by clicking here.
New COVID-19 Hotline
The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) has a new hotline for people with questions about COVID-19! People are encouraged to check hawaiicovid19.com to see if their questions can be answered on the website before calling the hotline. Call the free hotline at (808) 586-8332.
Booster Shots are NOT Required for Safe Travels Hawai‘i program
The Safe Travels Hawai‘i program requires passengers arriving in Hawai‘i to show proof of their vaccination status or a negative COVID-19 test in order to bypass quarantine requirements. Currently, booster shots are not required for the Safe Travels program. Learn more by clicking here.
To support small businesses and organizations, especially during the pandemic, Maui County is inviting community members to submit events to be promoted on the event calendar on www.MauiNuiFirst.com. For a free event listing, please complete an event submission form. Submissions will be reviewed and, if approved, will be posted within five working days. If you have any questions regarding the Maui Nui First program, please email info@MauiNuiFirst.com.
City & County of Honolulu
Free COVID-19 testing at HPD’s Downtown Substation (79 North Hotel Street in Honolulu) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Appointments are not accepted; tests are conducted on a first come first serve basis. This location has the capacity to conduct 100 tests a day. Test results are usually available within 30 minutes. The testing site will remain open through March 11, 2022. Please wear a mask and bring a photo ID.
Hawaiʻi Island businesses have an opportunity to receive 20 free rapid test kits for travel-related testing for employees. Healthier Organizations for Everyone (HOE) is an initiative born out of the concept that we have healthier communities when we have healthier workplaces. The county found the majority of community spread starts in the workplace, and is usually related to an employee traveling. Businesses will provide the self test to employees prior to travel and perform the test before they return to work. Businesses will report positive test results to an anonymous database; no names of organizations or employees will be required when reporting. The data will be used to assess the program’s efficacy in keeping communities safe. For more information and to register your business, click here.
Infographic: Do Vaccines and Boosters Protect Against Omicron?
Boosters are 90 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations for those who test positive for COVID-19 and have the Omicron variant. Unvaccinated persons are 23 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who are vaccinated with a booster. Learn more and download the infographic by clicking here.
Interactive Resource to Keep Keiki Safe Online
As more schools move towards online learning due to COVID-19, keiki need to be prepared to make safe and smart decisions online. Be Internet Awesome has resources for teachers and families to teach kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety online. Kids can play Interland, an online adventure that puts the key lessons of digital safety into hands-on practice with four challenging games.
Social Media Assets: COVID-19 Vaccines
The Community COVID Coalition supports outreach and education for state and Community Based Organization (CBO) communication efforts for the COVID-19 response, and the coalition has free social media assets available. Download animations and statistics surrounding COVID-19 vaccines for social media by clicking here.
COVID-19 Levels in Wastewater in the United States
The CDC launched a new surveillance map, COVID-19 Levels in Wastewater in the United States, to indicate whether COVID-19 levels are going up or down in sewage, which correlates with an area’s overall COVID-19 cases.
PUBLIC HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK
A new CDC study shows that wearing a mask indoors helps protect the wearer against COVID-19. Compared with those who reported not wearing a face covering, people who reported always wearing one in indoor public settings were less likely to test positive for COVID-19. Respirators (N95s or KN95s) were the most protective and effective in reducing the transmission of COVID-19. Wear a mask in indoor public settings to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19.