Aloha, Wishing you and your loved ones happy holidays as 2023 draws to a close!…
Happy New Year! The start of the year may come with challenges for many as Hawai‘i is experiencing a high number of positive COVID-19 cases. State health officers are expecting a surge in cases due to the spreading of variants in Hawai‘i, holiday gatherings, and an increase in travel. As we overcome this surge together, please get vaccinated as soon as possible and a booster if you are eligible. You should get tested if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19. To protect those around you when waiting for test results, quarantine until it is confirmed that you do not have COVID-19. Find updated COVID-19 resources below!
Omicron Variant: What You Need to Know
Want to learn more about the Omicron variant? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides available information of what we know about the variant and best practices to protect ourselves. Visit the CDC’s website to learn more.
FDA Approves Use of Pfizer Booster for 12 to 15-Year-Olds
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to:
- Expand the use of a single booster dose to include use in individuals 12 through 15 years of age.
- Shorten the time between the completion of primary vaccination of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and a booster dose to at least five months.
- Allow for a third primary series dose for certain immunocompromised children 5 through 11 years of age.
The CDC must sign off on the authorization before boosters may become available to youth ages 12-15; the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, January 5.
FDA Authorizes Oral Antivirals for Treatment of COVID-19
DOH Revises the State’s COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine PoliciesThe Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) is revising the state’s COVID-19 isolation and quarantine policies to align with CDC recommendations. These changes are effective Monday, January 3, 2022:
If you test positive for COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status:
- Isolate for at least 5 days and until symptoms are gone.
- Continue to wear a mask for five days after isolation.
If you are exposed to COVID-19:
Boosted, or fully vaccinated within past six months (or within past 2 months if J&J)
- No need to quarantine
- Wear a mask for ten days
- Get tested on day five
Neither boosted nor fully vaccinated
- Quarantine for five days
- Wear a mask for five days after quarantine
- Get tested on day five
DOH Expands Booster Authorization to 16 and 17-Year-Olds
DOH is adopting the CDC guidelines on COVID-19 booster vaccinations. People ages 16 and 17 may receive a booster dose if it has been at least six months since they have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Boosters not only still work against the Omicron variant, but there is increasing evidence that a third vaccine dose may have a dramatic impact on a person’s level of protection and likelihood of avoiding serious illness. Find a vaccination site at hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine.
Governor Ige’s Budget Calls for an Increase in Funding for Pandemic Response
Governor David Ige released his Executive Supplemental Budget for 2021-23, requesting that the Hawaiʻi State Legislature continues to support COVID-19 response adding:
- $61.8 million for Safe Travels, National Guard costs, and other COVID-19 expenditures.
- Over $30 million in state and federal funds to provide contingency funding for statewide COVID-19 operations.
- And restoring $5 million to the Major Disaster Fund.
The state budget addresses the state’s priorities; learn more by clicking here.
Mayor Michael Victorino revised Maui’s Public Health Emergency Rules to change the definition of “fully vaccinated” to include getting a COVID-19 booster shot. The rule change goes into effect January 8, 2022. For elders or others who are homebound and want a vaccination or booster shot at home, call the Hawai‘i Department of Health at (808) 586-8332 or (833) 711-0645 to schedule an appointment.
Starting Monday, January 3 free drive-through COVID-19 testing begins at the War Memorial Stadium parking lot in Wailuku. Testing will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and 4 to 8 p.m. Monday and Thursday in the parking lot area next to Ichiro “Iron” Maehara Stadium. Testing will continue through January 31, 2022. Appointments are required with pre-registration at AlohaClear.com. When registering, please provide ZIP code 96793 for the War Memorial test site. Tests will be rapid PCR tests with results available in less than 24 hours.
Free in-person testing is also available at the following locations:
Where: Lahaina Civic Center
When: Monday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: 1280 South Kihei Road (behind Ace Hardware)
When: Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: 348 Lehuakona St. (behind Maui Marketplace)
When: Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
To pre-register, go to minitmed.com/pre-register-maui-covid-19. If you have problems pre-registering, please call 808-667-6161 extension 6 for help and more information.
Kaua‘i county is requesting that residents who have recently travelled get tested three to five days after returning home. The Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall (4191 Hardy Street in Lihue) is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The county also has a mobile testing van available at different communities each day. The van will be open for free rapid PCR COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the following neighborhoods:
- Wednesdays: Kekaha Neighborhood Center parking lot
- Thursdays: Kīlauea Neighborhood Center parking lot
- Fridays: Kalāheo Neighborhood Center parking lot
- Saturdays: Hanalei Neighborhood Center parking lot
- Sundays: Kapa‘a Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex
All COVID-19 testing sites can be found at kauai.gov/COVIDTest.
The indoor gathering limit has been reduced to ten people to help curve the spread of the virus and limit infections that could lead to hospitalizations. You may view the amended emergency rule here.
Free COVID-19 test kits will be given out to those who register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, January 5 at Ace Hardware in Na‘alehu from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. COVID-19 test kits will be distributed on a first come, first served basis to those who register to receive a vaccination at one of the following locations: Ka‘u Rural Health Clinic, Bay Clinic, CVS Longs in Pahala or West Hawai‘i Community Health Center.
City & County of Honolulu
Where: Waikiki Shell
When: Daily from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Where: BYU Hawaii
When: January 4, 2022 and January 12, 2022 from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Where: Valley of the Temples Shopping Center
When: January 6, 2022 from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Where: Kaimuki Municipal Parking Lot
When: January 8, 2022 from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
Where: Carpenters Training Center
When: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Where: Blaisdell Arena
When: Sunday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Where: HCAP Waianae
When: January 11, 2022 from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Where: Stadium Marketplace
When: January 13, 2022 from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.
How To Talk with Your ‘Ohana About Vaccinations
Vaccinations are important because they protect people against harmful diseases. This shareable guide provides strategies to have safe and compassionate conversations with your loved ones who may be concerned about how the COVID-19 vaccine could affect them and their ‘ohana.
Six Tips to Stay Productive and Happy Working From Home
With the current COVID-19 surge across the U.S. many organizations are continuing to work remotely or have a hybrid workplace. This article highlights how workers can create an environment at home to set themselves up for success.
Successful COVID-19 Campaigns: Connect, Communicate, Convince
Read about successful COVID-19 public service announcements (PSAs) and campaigns so you can identify best practices to incorporate as you craft your own COVID-19 public health campaign. Learn how to connect, communicate and convince when creating messages around COVID-19 and refer to examples of successful public health campaigns by clicking here.
Infographic: COVID-19 Vaccination During Pregnancy
The CDC provides an infographic, COVID-19 Vaccination During Pregnancy in English and Spanish that addresses evidence of the safety and effectiveness of vaccination during pregnancy, COVID-19 risks, and debunks pregnancy myths from COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.
PUBLIC HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK
There is still time to get a flu shot! As many as 41 million people get sick from the flu each season in the U.S. It is possible to have the influenza (flu), as well as other respiratory illnesses, and COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this can be. It is important to protect yourself and others by getting a flu shot. Health professionals can visit the CDC for seasonal influenza vaccination resources.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.