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Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions?

Ma ka hana ka ʻike. – Through doing, one learns.

This ʻōlelo noʻeau (Hawaiian proverb) reflects how we’ve all had to adapt to state and county guidance as Hawai‘i has navigated finding immediate solutions to help stop the spread of COVID-19 while we were learning about the virus in real time. COVID-19 is still circulating in Hawai‘i, but our mayors are making changes to county mandates  based on new CDC guidance along with COVID-19 case count and hospitalization data. Check out your county below to see if changes have been made to public health emergency orders. State mandates such as the indoor mask mandate and Safe Travels Hawai‘i still apply to all counties.

JOIN A COHORT! 

COVID-19 has exposed racial inequities in education, health, and the workforce. If you’re passionate about health and social justice, be a part of HIPHI’s Tobacco and Health Equity Community of Practice 2022! We are continuing to accept applications for the first Cohort of Tobacco and Health Equity. We are looking for participants committed to taking their leadership skills to the next level and interested in partnering for lasting change in our state. Applications will be accepted until Monday, March 7 at 12 p.m. Learn more at https://bit.ly/HIPHICOP2022.

FEDERAL UPDATES

New CDC Resource: COVID-19 Community Levels

The CDC released a new tool, COVID-19 Community Levels, to help communities determine what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Preventative measures such as wearing a mask for protection is recommended where COVID-19 community levels are high. This is determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. Hawai‘i has not made any changes to its indoor mask mandate that is still in effect to help protect our most vulnerable populations.

 

Interim Clinical Considerations for mRna COVID-19 Vaccination Guidance

The CDC added considerations for an eight week interval between the first and second doses of a primary mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) vaccine schedule. Research showed the longer interval can provide more enduring protection against COVID-19, especially for males ages 12 through 39 years, who are not moderately or severely immunocompromised.  A shorter interval (three weeks for Pfizer; four weeks for Moderna) between the first and second dose remains the recommended interval for: people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised; adults ages 65 years and older; and others who need early protection due to increased concern about risk of severe disease. For more information, click here.

COUNTY UPDATES

Maui County

As of today, Tuesday, March 1, Maui County has repealed all Public Health Emergency Rules. No proof of vaccination or testing is required for indoor service at restaurants, bars and gyms. The repeal is only for county rules, the state’s Safe Travels Program and the statewide requirement to wear masks indoors will remain in effect, and can only be lifted by the governor.

Maui County will reopen all three of its camping sites (two on Molokai and one on Maui). Most community centers with capacities up to 300 people will reopen on March 1, and larger-capacity community centers will be reopened at a later date to be announced. More information can be found at www.mauicounty.gov/parks.

City & County of Honolulu 

Beginning on Sunday, March 6, the Safe Access O‘ahu program will no longer be in effect. The Safe Access O‘ahu program requires businesses to check for vaccination status or a negative COVID-19 test. Starting on March 6, the City and County of Honolulu will no longer operate under an emergency order regarding COVID-19 and there will be no further County restrictions at this time. Learn more by clicking here.

More families may be able to apply to the City’s Rental and Utility Relief Program, based on new federal eligibility rules. Renters who have been impacted during COVID (financial hardship, housing instability) can apply for assistance with support that has increased to 18 months, up from the 12 months available before. Other changes allow leasehold fees to be paid for eligible people living on leasehold property on Oʻahu and mooring fees can be paid for eligible families legally living on a boat at an Oʻahu harbor. Apply today or learn more by clicking here.

Hawai‘i County

Mayor Mitch Roth announced that all Hawai‘i county COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. State mandates such as the indoor mask requirement, the state’s Safe Travels program, and the vaccination/testing program for county employees will remain in effect.

Upcoming Pop-up COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Site:

Kaua‘i County

As of today, Tuesday, March 1, Kaua‘i County has repealed Emergency Rule 28 (ending the county’s last emergency rule for COVID-19). Emergency Rule 28 limited social gatherings and required large event organizers to verify attendees vaccination status or a negative COVID test. While the rule is no longer in effect, large event organizers are highly encouraged to promote these best practices as part of their business operations. Learn more by clicking here.

STATEWIDE RESOURCES

Communications Cheat Sheet: Language That Works to Improve Vaccine Acceptance

The de Beaumont Foundation conducted a series of polls and focus groups to identify messaging and language that is most likely to build confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. This communications cheat sheet: Language That Works to Improve Vaccine Acceptance identifies proven words to use more and tips when tailoring your message around vaccinations.

 

New Materials Have Been Translated

More materials around COVID-19 have been translated into multiple languages at hawaiicovid19.com/translations/. Find translated materials about Moderna being fully approved, free COVID-19 test kits, keiki vaccinations and more!

 

Digital Health Literacy Curriculum & Resources

Digital health literacy has been extremely important during the pandemic to understand health information as well as to access resources online. The All of Us Research Program is inviting one million people across the U.S. to help build one of the most diverse health databases in history and has a plethora of resources such as a Digital Health Literacy Curriculum. Free online learning modules include how to: sign up for a free email address, search for health information, read a webpage, and avoid scams.

 

Rural Health During the Pandemic: Challenges and Solutions to Accessing Care

More than 57 million Americans reside in rural areas and this population often experiences significant barriers to health care, such as distance and transportation, health literacy, privacy and stigma, and provider shortages. This infographic explains the cross section between the COVID-19 pandemic and health disparities in rural communities, as well as interventions to improve rural health.

 

COVID-19 Rapid Needs Assessment

Researchers at NYU Langone Health are conducting a study to learn more about the current and ongoing impact of the pandemic on the health needs and priorities of Arab American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities, nationally. If you identify as Arab American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander and are 18 years or older, you can take part in this study; it will take about 15 minutes to complete. Take the survey today!

PUBLIC HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK 

It can be very confusing to determine if you need to test for COVID-19, when to test, and which test to use. We have compiled answers to some of these common questions about COVID-19 tests. You can view or share these slides on Instagram and Facebook. ⠀

Keep reading to learn the difference between PCR and rapid tests as well as testing guidance such as when to test and which test to use. You can also read more about COVID-19 testing at https://loom.ly/uMhqAtE and https://loom.ly/KQn2bR4.

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