COVID-19 UPDATE 34  

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! Hawai‘i Public Health Institute acknowledges that AANHPI communities face systemic barriers to health equity. We are committed to working towards health equity for AANHPI communities, including an equitable distribution of COVID-19 resources. The Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Hawai‘i COVID-19 Response, Recovery and Resilience Team has created a Pacific Islander Vaccine Toolkit known as Woven with Elders that contains facts around vaccination and answers to frequently asked questions. Woven with Elders is free and can be downloaded and shared in English, Chamorro, Tongan, Chuukese, Hawaiian, Samoan, and Kosraean. This resource is one of many created to meet the language needs of limited english proficiency populations. Please share this resource with community partners who work with Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.

MONTHLY PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION WEBINAR

COVID-19 Vaccines & the Workplace: Employer & Employee Rights 

This Wednesday, May 5 from 1-2 p.m. we will have our monthly COVID-19 PHA webinar on vaccines in the workplace! A vaccine requirement is viewed as a safety measure meant to protect the health of employees, clients, students and others in workplaces. Can employers require employees to be vaccinated? Can they incentivize vaccination? Should they? Our experts will discuss employers’ and employees’ rights, obligations and perceived risks related to the COVID-19 vaccine along with the latest legal developments and guidance. We will also include a brief update on progress in administering the COVID-19 vaccine in Hawaiʻi. Register now!

FEDERAL UPDATES

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) Vaccine Resumes After Temporary Pause 

Since April 13, there has been a recommended pause in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to allow the CDC and FDA to further investigate if the vaccine was related to or caused a rare and severe blood clot, known as thrombosis-thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), amongst seven women who received it. There have been 15 cases of TTS reported out of 6.8 million doses administered. After thoroughly investigating all the data, the CDC and FDA are confident in the vaccine’s safety and efficacy in preventing COVID-19 and have declared the potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks.

CDC Updates Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Individuals 

The CDC has recently made changes to their recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals! This printable pdf, Choosing Safer Activities, provides an outline of safe activities fully vaccinated people can partake in. If you’re outdoors and can maintain physical distance from others, you don’t have to wear a mask, but the county guidelines still apply for wearing a mask indoors, or in (outdoor or indoor) crowded settings and venues. Governor Ige said he has no imminent plans to lift Hawaii’s mask mandate.

SBA grants for Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help struggling restaurants and other eligible businesses. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and does not have to be repaid if used for eligible expenses by March 11, 2023. Applications opened today; register to start your application!

STATE UPDATE

Vaccine Passport for Residents Traveling Inter-Island 

Governor Ige announced that starting May 11, fully vaccinated residents who received their vaccine in Hawaiʻi may travel inter-county without having to take a pre-travel test or quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. You are considered fully vaccinated on the 15th day following your final vaccine dose. People who wish to bypass the state’s quarantine requirement are asked to bring their vaccination card while traveling and still need a Safe Travels Hawaiʻi account. Please check county websites for additional requirements.

COUNTY UPDATES

Kaua‘i County

Beginning May 10, online applications will be accepted from 6:00 a.m. for the Kaua‘i 2021 Coronavirus Rental and Utility Assistance Program. The program will be available to residents of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau with a demonstrated reduction in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a household income of not more than 80% of the area median income. The program will be administered by the Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union (KGEFCU) and you may email rent@kgefcu.org for assistance with an application. In-person application assistance will be available at the Līhu‘e Civic Center Pi‘ikoi building on May 11 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Maui County

Starting May 4, all trans-Pacific travelers participating in the state’s Safe Travels Program will need to take a post-travel COVID-19 test upon arrival at the Kahului Airport. More information can be found on Maui Nui Strong.

Hawai‘i County

Hawai‘i County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program offers rent and utility assistance for qualifying renters in Hawai‘i County earning at or below 80% area median income and proof of hardship due to COVID-19. Applicants can choose one of the following non-profits through which to apply: Hawai‘i First Federal Credit Union, HOPE Services Hawai‘i, Neighborhood Place of Puna, Habitat for Humanity Hawai‘i Island, Hawai‘i County Economic Opportunity Council, and The Salvation Army. Applications are available for those without access to a computer or internet by phone and in-person! Please note that you must be a renter to apply. Unfortunately, homeowners are not eligible for this program.

City and County of Honolulu

Today, the Rent and Utilities Relief program opened at 2 p.m. for O‘ahu residents and received 4,000 applications in less than 20 minutes. The program closed to allow the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and Catholic Charities Hawai‘i time process the applications. The portal will reopen Monday, June 7, 2021, for the third round of applications on OneOahu.org.

Here are some upcoming vaccination opportunities:

HIPHI has released a City & County of Honolulu COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Guide to help residents navigate through ever-changing COVID-19 information regarding vaccination, testing, and travel! This is an online resource that is maintained by HIPHI, with neighbor island resources to be added. If you know of helpful updates and information to add, please contact us at covidresponse@hiphi.org.

 

 

 

STATEWIDE RESOURCES

Free 1-hour Informational Session and Training on the Emergency Broadband Benefit

This Friday, May 7, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m Papa Ola Lokahi, in partnership with the Broadband Hui and the Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander COVID-19 Response, Recovery, Resilience Team, will be hosting a free webinar on the Emergency Broadband Benefit! This program is designed to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the pandemic and is tailored to community health workers, case managers and others who directly support and serve community members. Click here to register!

HRSA Infographic on Vaccination without Insurance  

Some residents might ask why a vaccination site asks for their insurance card. Insurance information is taken at vaccination sites for back end reimbursements but individuals without insurance can still get vaccinated at NO cost. Please share this infographic on COVID-19 services without insurance to partners and those working on vaccination efforts.

Vaccine Misinformation Management Field Guide 

This Vaccine Misinformation Management Field Guide is a resource from the United Nations Children’s Fund and partners to rapidly counter vaccine misinformation and build demand for vaccination informed by social listening. The guide covers vaccine hesitancy, reasons why people create misinformation, how to combat it and some relevant case studies!

Trust for America’s Health Brief on Vaccinating Homebound Kūpuna and People with Disabilities

The brief may be viewed here and recommends actions that federal, state, and local government, state and local health agencies, the healthcare sector and community partners should take to ensure an equitable COVID-19 response to homebound and those with disabilities.

Free May Webinar Series for Nurses 

The Hawai’i State Center for Nursing is hosting a three part webinar series in honor of National Nurses Month. The need and importance of nurses has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first webinar of this series takes place on May 11 from 12-1 p.m. and explores the nuanced relationship between Hawaii’s nursing workforce supply and employer demand for nurses. Click here to learn more!

DOH Seeks Volunteers for COVID-19 Vaccine Focus Group 

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health is seeking Hawai‘i residents aged 18-34 to participate in a coronavirus vaccine focus group that will take place via Zoom. If you are interested in committing to participate, please contact Lori McShance with Anthology Research by emailing lori.mcshance@anthologygroup.com or by calling (808) 564-5362.

 

PUBLIC HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK 

May is full of graduation celebrations and Hawai‘i Public Health Institute congratulates all 2021 graduates! As we look to safely connect with graduates, we have created some tips on how to safely celebrate. In Hawai‘i, a lei ceremony is a long standing tradition to honor graduates and a safe way to keep the tradition alive is by delivering leis to graduates via a drive by celebration. Potlucks and parties are a main way people have traditionally celebrated graduates so if you are planning to get together with family or friends, a safe option is to have an outdoor celebration following county guidelines. Potlucks can be replaced with bentos to minimize contact. Families of the same household can sit together and memories can still be made while protecting the health of your community!

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