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HIPHI COVID-19 Update 11/29

We hope you had a great Thanksgiving and as more holidays approach in December, we understand the excitement of celebrating is often coupled with tiredness and fatigue. A number of factors that can lead to a decrease in energy and we understand the toll of spending another year in a pandemic. Some self-help tips to fight tiredness include creating rhythms in your schedule to increase movement, being intentional with healthy food choices (consuming less alcohol and caffeine), trying to get on a sleep schedule and reducing stress by introducing relaxing activities during your day. We support you in slowing down and reflecting on how you’re feeling as you balance life’s responsibilities. Need some help reflecting on how you’re doing? You can take this quick quiz to check in with yourself.

UPCOMING COVID-19 PHA WEBINAR

Save the date: Wednesday, December 1 | 1 – 2  p.m.

Entering into the new year, we hope to learn how we can better address health disparities and promote health equity statewide. While we are all affected by COVID-19, we have all not been affected in the same way. A panel of experts will discuss lessons learned working with Hawaii’s most vulnerable populations and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Join us as we hear community highlights of 2021 and best practices from community leaders on how we can move forward together to achieve health equity.

Register today!

FEDERAL UPDATE

What We Know About the Omicron Variant 

Viruses change (mutate) over time. These mutated versions of the virus can survive and spread in a community, affecting treatment and prevention. South Africa reported the discovery of a new variant, Omicron, to the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 24, to date reported in 14 countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that as yet there are no identified Omicron cases in the U.S. We await further information in the coming days, including how symptoms may vary from other variants, and any possible effects on vaccine efficacy, compared to other variants.  We encourage everyone to remain calm as scientists continue to provide more information to inform a risk-based and scientific approach. For preventative measures, the Biden administration will prohibit foreign travelers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi from coming to the U.S. U.S. citizens may still travel from these countries, provided they obtain a test within 24 hours of departure.

STATEWIDE UPDATES

Changes to Statewide COVID-19 Emergency Proclamation

Governor Ige will sign another COVID-19 emergency proclamation that will be effective on December 1, 2021. Changes include:

  • Social gathering limitations will now be implemented by counties including restaurant operations, social establishments and other venues.
  • Extensions for driver’s license renewals, instruction permits, and replacements are ending as of November 29, 2021.
  • Counties will no longer be required to obtain the approval of the governor or the director of the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA) prior to issuing county emergency orders, rules or proclamations.

The Hawaiʻi Safe Travels Program, the indoor mask mandate, vaccination or testing requirements for state executive, county employees, contractors and visitors to state facilities will remain in effect. Read the full news release here.

 

Booster Eligibility Expands  

All adults aged 18 and older who received Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago are eligible for boosters in addition to those who received Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine more than two months ago. It is recommended that people aged 50 years and older and adults in long term care settings should receive a booster dose. The Hawai‘i Department of Health has a flyer containing all essential information on Boosters for COVID-19 Vaccines; translated flyers can be found at hawaiicovid19.com/public-health-flyers/.

COUNTY  UPDATES

Maui County

Maui county will move forward to allow restaurants and bars to operate at 100 percent capacity and eliminate any social distance requirements. More information to come.

 

City & County of Honolulu 

Starting December 1, the Safe Access O‘ahu program, which requires employees and patrons 12 and older to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within the previous 48 hours, will only apply to operations and events that serve food and drinks or that have indoor exercise activities. Businesses or events will no longer be capacity limitations; however the indoor mask mandate will still be effective statewide and all events, indoors or outdoors, must have attendees wear masks. There will no longer be restrictions on social gathering sizes. You may view changes to the Safe O‘ahu Response Plan at oneoahu.org.

STATEWIDE RESOURCES 

HMSA Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program

The Hawai‘i Medical Service Association (HMSA) will award up to 15 high school seniors with $5,000 scholarships to pay for college tuition, books, computers, and room and board. To be eligible, applicants must graduate from a Hawaiʻi high school in 2022 with a 2.75 or higher GPA. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, requirements have been relaxed and participation in athletics and involvement in community service during their high school years are encouraged but not required. Learn more on HMSA.com. If you have questions, email kaimana@hmsa.com or contact Marisa Takemoto at 808-948-5072.

 

Steps for Determining Close Contact and Quarantine in K–12 Schools

The CDC released a new infographic on Steps for Determining Close Contact and Quarantine in K–12 Schools. The infographic provides public health recommendations for people who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 within the K–12 school settings. The need to quarantine is dependent on many factors such as indoor or outdoor settings, social distancing, proper mask wearing, vaccination status and time spent near someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

 

The Pandemic’s Impact on Children: COVID-19 Vaccinations & Mental Health

The ongoing stress, fear, grief, disruption of schooling and uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on children’s wellbeing. More than 140,000 children have experienced the death of a parent or grandparent caregiver from COVID-19. The NIHCM Foundation released an infographic tracking data on COVID-19 vaccinations and mental health amongst children in the U.S.

 

‘Imi Pono Hawaiʻi Wellbeing Survey of 2021

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Lili‘uokalani Trust, and Kamehameha Schools conducted the ‘Imi Pono Hawaiʻi Wellbeing Survey of 2021, a statewide survey examining well-being among Native Hawaiians and Hawai‘i residents. This report identifies COVID-19 impacts related to: health and wellbeing, employment and income, education, digital connectivity at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 and explores commonalities and differences between Native Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian experiences.

PUBLIC HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK

Even after being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, it is important to monitor your daily health, wear a mask, keep a safe distance, increase ventilation in shared spaces, keep your hands clean and cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. COVID-19 vaccines are effective and can reduce the risk of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19, but not everyone can get vaccinated. Since vaccines are not 100 percent effective at preventing infection, some people who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19. These preventative actions will help to slow the spread of COVID-19 to your loved ones and community even if you are fully vaccinated.

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.

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