COVID-19 UPDATE 30   

When will I get to return to the office? When will my children go back to school? When can we gather with all of our loved ones? We all have so many questions regarding when our lives will return to a safe version of what they once were, and this week the CDC released new guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals. With the exciting authorization of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as well as vaccine production ramping up, we are on track to have enough vaccine supply for every American adult to get vaccinated two months earlier than anticipated. With new strains of COVID-19 appearing in Hawai‘i and around the world, it is important to get ourselves and our ‘ohana signed up for vaccination as soon as we are able to reach herd immunity. We will continue to update you as each new group becomes eligible! 

FEDERAL UPDATE

On March 6, the Senate passed the American Rescue Plan, a new COVID-19 relief package. If this package is signed into law, Hawai‘i is estimated to receive at least $6 billion in federal funding, providing financial relief for the state’s budget and helping Hawaii’s families and local businesses during the pandemic. The House of Representatives must sign off on the package then it will be in the hands of President Joe Biden to sign it into law.

STATE UPDATES

The Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, allowing the state to receive 11,900 doses last week. The new COVID-19 vaccine has been called a ‘real game changer’ since the vaccine can be stored in the temperature of a regular refrigerator and only requires a single shot! Read more about the unique characteristics and science behind the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and why, despite a lower efficacy in preventing symptomatic illness, it is still being hailed by public health officials. 

Now Vaccinating 70+

The Hawai‘i Department of Health announced the state is now vaccinating residents ages 70 and older. Weekly vaccine allotments to Hawai‘i have increased by over 25,000 doses, allowing the state to accelerate its vaccination schedule. Please share this exciting news with the kūpuna in your community and for those who qualify, schedule an appointment today! 

CVS Pharmacy Updates

CVS Pharmacies has expanded to vaccinate residents ages 70 and older, K-12 teachers, daycare and preschool workers, and staff! Please visit CVS online to see which stores are offering vaccinations and to schedule an appointment. At this time, CVS will ONLY allow WALK-IN vaccinations available to kūpuna ages 75 and older. CVS is prioritizing the 75+ kūpuna population for walk-in vaccinations to ensure everyone has a positive service experience before opening the opportunity to other age groups.

New Strains of COVID-19 Found in Hawai‘i

Today the Department of Health State Laboratories Division (SLD) detected a new strain of COVID-19, named B.1.351 and is sometimes referred to as the South African variant. HIPHI’s latest blog post explains more about the new strains of COVID-19 found in Hawai‘i and how we should respond.

Safe Travel to Hawai‘i with Health Pass 

CLEAR, a biometric secure identity platform, has joined Hawaii’s Safe Travels program as a trusted testing and travel partner for Delta DL 480 and United UA 1158 flights from LAX. CLEAR Health Pass supports travelers 18 and older, allowing access to additional lab opportunities.

Micro-Grant Program: Now Accepting Applications

The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is now accepting applications for the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program. This grant is an effort to support small-scale gardening, herding and livestock operations to help produce food in areas that are food insecure. Read more on the grant and use this link to attend the Zoom Webinar on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. to learn more. Those who can’t attend, are encouraged to watch the webinar recording, which will be posted after March 16.

COUNTY UPDATES

Kaua‘i County

Free mental health counseling is available by phone or videoconference for Kaua‘i residents of all ages! Call (808) 543-8445 to get connected with a WorkLife Hawai‘i counselor, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All calls are anonymous and confidential. 

 

The Rise to Work program has reopened to provide temporary positions for displaced workers and to support local businesses and nonprofits. If you are a local business or a nonprofit organization interested in hiring employees through the program, you can complete the employer application form. Available job positions will be coming soon!

 

Effective April 5, Kaua‘i will rejoin the Safe Travels Hawaiʻi pre-testing program. Information on travel procedures for Kaua‘i before and after April 5 can be found on the county’s website.

 

Maui County

On Tuesday, March 9, Mayor Michael Victorino will host the State of the County Address at 6:30 p.m. It will be broadcast on cable channel 55 and online at Akakū Maui Community Media. Mayor Victorino’s speech will cover Maui’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a community vision moving forward.

 

City and County of Honolulu

The City and County of Honolulu is now in Tier 3! HIPHI’s Tier 3 update on social media highlights major changes you can expect in the county. For more information on safety precautions, requirements, and restrictions, please visit OneOahu

 

Coronacare Hawaiʻi is a volunteer mutual aid network currently providing free food and supply packages to individuals in need every Saturday. This will include one Food Box on delivery day, and a Household Supplies box periodically. Fill out this form to receive a package. For questions or more information, call 808-460-6095.

 

Hawai‘i County

Free financial guidance, including access to available programs and services to manage financial concerns due to COVID-19, is provided to residents by phone. Complete this form to have a financial advisor call you. 

 

Every Friday, West Hawai‘i Community Health Center will offer a walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic for kūpuna ages 70 or older, essential workers and educators. The clinic will be a first come basis at Kona Community Aquatic Center Gym, beginning at 9:00 a.m. 

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION WEBINAR

This month’s Public Health Action webinar featured Hawai‘i State Representative Linda Ichiyama, chair of the House Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Committee. Representative Ichiyama shared more about the committee, and updates on COVID-19 including legislation being considered by the legislature. If you missed last week’s webinar, click here to watch it!

STATEWIDE RESOURCES

Vaccine Brochure

This two-page, printable COVID-19 Vaccine Informational Brochure provides quick and easy information about the COVID-19 vaccines and answers to the most commonly asked questions. Help keep Hawai‘i informed about COVID-19 vaccines by sharing this brochure!

 

V-SAFE 

V-Safe app is a smartphone-based tool that provides personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you can record it through the app and it will notify the CDC directly. V-Safe cannot schedule vaccine appointments, but allows you to monitor your health after vaccination. This information helps CDC monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in near real time, with any serious reported health problems able to be quickly investigated by CDC’s medical experts and scientists; your participation is appreciated! 

 

New Series by the Department of Health: The Weekly Dose 

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health started a new 15-minute online show that focuses on Hawaii’s vaccination program. Every Friday, you can join Brooks Baehr alongside expert guests to answer your questions, as well as keep you up to date on Hawaii’s vaccination program. Tune in this Friday on Youtube or Facebook

 

Interactive Coping Activity for Keiki 

The CDC has a free downloadable interactive activity book for keiki ages 3-10 to help them cope with their emotions during the pandemic. The book is also available in Spanish. Visit the CDC for more Ready Wrigley Books

 

Your Participation Is Needed: COVID-19 Indigenous Needs Survey 

You are invited to participate in the Native American COVID-19 Alliance’s COVID-19 Indigenous needs assessment survey (CINAS).  This survey is used to ensure that Native Peoples’ experiences are represented, and considered during the allocation of resources and in the development of public health messaging during the pandemic. 

 

PUBLIC HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK – DOUBLE MASKING

A recent CDC study highlighted the importance of a good fitted mask to limit exposure to respiratory droplets and to prevent leakage of air around the masks’ edges. It is recommended when wearing a disposable mask to add a cloth mask that has multiple layers over it to ensure your disposable mask is tightly fitted. You should be able to breathe easily and the cloth mask should push the edges of the disposable mask against your face. Disposable masks are not designed to fit tightly, therefore you should not layer two disposable masks.

 

DO YOU HAVE RESOURCES OR INFORMATION ON COVID-19 TO SHARE?

If you have any resources or updates we should include in our next email or on our website, feel free to contact us at covidresponse@hiphi.org