Last month, Governor David Ige announced the pre-travel testing program would start on October 15 after being delayed several times. This program, which Lieutenant Governor Josh Green is in charge of, would allow travelers to skip the 14-day quarantine if they test negative using an approved test at least 72 hours prior to their flight to Hawai‘i.

As October 15 approaches, physicians, mayors, council members, and community members have raised concerns that a single test prior to arrival is not sufficient and are advocating for a post-arrival test in case travelers are exposed during transit. Kaua‘i Mayor Derek Kawakami proposed a plan to supplement the pre-travel testing program, but it was denied and Honolulu City Councilmember Tommy Waters has introduced a resolution urging the Governor to adopt a two-step travel testing plan (up for hearing on Wednesday, October 7submit testimony on Reso 20-253 here). Proponents of the current plan push back, saying only a small, manageable number of travelers with COVID19 would slip through the pre-travel testing program. They worry that requiring a second test and even a shortened quarantine would deter visitors from coming and prolong Hawaii’s economic woes.

We understand the delicate balance between public health and economic recovery, but the state’s core message has always been that public health and the health of the community comes first. We urge the state to reconsider its pre-travel testing plan and at a minimum allow the counties to enact their own post-travel testing programs as needed. A surge in cases could lead to another shutdown, which could be more economically devastating than reopening slowly and safely.

Starting this month, our Public Health Action webinars will be transitioning to a monthly schedule. The next webinar will be on October 14 with Hawai‘i Data Collaborative on how data is used to inform re-opening decisions and the City and County of Honolulu, discussing the new tier system being used for re-opening. You can watch last week’s webinar on leveraging institutional purchasing power to drive food system change in Hawai‘i.

STATE UPDATES
Hawaii’s Pre-Travel Testing Program is still set to start October 15. Since the announcement, officials have added that only FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) will be accepted, tests must be taken 72 hours before flight departure to Hawai‘i (for multi-city trips, it would be the last flight leg), and children under 5 do not need to be tested.

Grab-and-Go Meals are scheduled to resume at 203 DOE schools starting October 12 through December 18. All children 18 years and younger can receive free meals. Meal distribution will be at lunchtime only and will include one lunch for that day and one breakfast for the following day per child. For prescribed meal modifications you may contact specialdiets@k12.hi.us or call 808-784-5500.

Hawai‘i Restaurant Card Program is a new state program that will provide qualified recipients a pre-loaded $500 debit card to be used at any restaurant in Hawai‘i. Individuals who became unemployed since March 25 and are still collecting benefits qualify and will automatically receive the card in the mail beginning October 16, 2020.

COUNTY UPDATES
City and County of Honolulu
Two weeks ago, Honolulu announced its tiered reopening plan. Oʻahu is currently in Tier 1, the most restrictive level of the plan. Oʻahu can graduate to the next tier if it meets the metrics set for Tier 2 by October 31. If case counts and positivity rates remain high, Oʻahu will remain in Tier 1.

Hawai‘i County
Mayor Harry Kim signed emergency rule #12, which reopened all county and state beaches on October 1, though camping remains prohibited. It also covers mandatory face coverings, physical distancing, and gathering limits of no more than 10 people.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION WEBINAR, 10/14

Watch Webinar

“IT’S OUR TURN” COVID19 PSA

Kōkua Kalihi Valley encourages all of our island communities to continue to be watchful and adapt to the challenges presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Our families, cultures, and futures remain at stake. Hawai’i will emerge whole and stronger by working to support everyone in our islands, especially those most vulnerable.

Watch Video

PUBLIC HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK

As Hawai‘i public schools begin quarter two next week, here are some back to school safety tips! Some schools may begin transitioning to blended learning as early as October 12 based on guidance released last month. This plan included specific metrics that would determine if schools can implement in-person, blended, or distance learning, though the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association feels that the DOE’s guidelines conflict with the CDC’s recommendations. Regardless of the metrics used, it’s important for parents and guardians to prepare their child if and when they return to school.

LAST CHANCE: ORDER PPE FROM HI-EMA BY NOVEMBER 15
Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) has begun shipment of free personal protective equipment (PPE), and is doing a final call for qualified businesses to order PPE by November 15. Independent medical providers, child care providers, elder care facilities, small businesses, and non-profit organizations should order through this form, while hospitals and schools should use their current PPE ordering system with HI-EMA.

FREE ONLINE CLASSES THROUGH COURSERA FOR HAWAIʻI RESIDENTS
The Hawai‘i Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) is offering Hawai‘i residents complimentary access to the Coursera online learning platform, with registration open until October 31, 2020. This initiative offers educational resources to Hawaii’s workforce, especially unemployed workers, so they can equip themselves with technology skills and reposition for new career opportunities. Approved users may take their pick from more than 3,000 courses and certifications from top universities and organizations, ranging from technology to business and personal development offerings. Learn more and apply here.

FREE VIRTUAL AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAM: PROJECT POWER
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is excited to bring you the ADA Project Power program. This FREE virtual afterschool program for kids ages 7 – 13 focuses on kids’ health and wellness. All content is presented in age-appropriate ways, and kids report the sessions are really fun! Each participant will receive a FREE Activity Box delivered right to their door! Register by October 16, 2020 at www.diabetes.org/projectpower.

NATIVE HAWAIIAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HOUSEHOLD SURVEY
The National Pacific Islander COVID19 Response Team is conducting a Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Household Survey! Data collected will be used to help policymakers, agencies, and partners effectively address culturally responsive measures to meet the needs of these populations.

HAWAIʻI PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS + FAMILIES SURVEY
The Hawai‘i State Department of Education is currently seeking feedback from secondary students (grades 6-12) and families (all grade levels) to learn more about their first quarter experiences of the 2020-21 school year. This feedback is essential to assess system progress, identify areas where additional support is needed and coordinate resources. The student survey must be completed by October 23, while the family survey is due by October 30.

TELEHEALTH COVID19 SCREENING AND TELEPSYCH VISITS
Hawaiʻi Department of Health and University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine are working together to provide Hawaiʻi residents with telehealth tools for COVID19 screening and online telepsychiatry and telepsychology. The first visit is free, and future visits may also be free or reduced cost.

BEWARE OF FRAUDULENT CORONAVIRUS TESTS, VACCINES AND TREATMENTS
The FDA advises consumers to be cautious of websites and stores selling products that claim to cure, treat, diagnose, or prevent COVID19 and provides tips to help consumers spot these fraudulent products. There are currently no FDA-approved drugs or vaccines to treat or prevent COVID19. Many of these fraudulent products haven’t been evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness for such use and might be dangerous to you and your family.

DO YOU HAVE RESOURCES OR INFORMATION ON COVID19 TO SHARE?
If you have any resources or updates we should include in our next weekly email or website, feel free to contact us at covidresponse@hiphi.org.