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Ka‘ū News Briefs, Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation regularly updates is projection of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Hawaiʻi,

along with the need for medical facilities and equipment to fight the disease. See the Hawaiʻi projections here. 
THE FIRST DEATH IN HAWAIʻI OF A PERSON WHO TESTED POSITIVE WITH COVID-19 OCCURRED ON OʻAHU. During a press conference on Oʻahu Tuesday, state Department of Health chief Bruce Anderson said the man suffered underlying health problems and was elderly. It is unclear as to whether COVID-19 contributed to the death, but he tested positive.

     Andersonalso noted that Hawaiʻi is one of the top three states in testing per capita for COVID-19, which should help control the disease through isolating those who have it.
     In reviewing the inter-island travel restrictions that begin on April 1, the governor said the ban is needed to keep Hawaiʻi safe. He said he understands the importance of traveling for essential work, and for surgery and other necessary health. Both will be exempt.

      Kenneth Hara, the Adjunct General in charge of Hawaiʻi's war on COVID-19, explained that those traveling interisland will be traced through filling out a form. The information required: name, residential address, contact telephone number, and destination information, declaring work or health need and where the person will stay.
     Those traveling interisland to perform essential functions are subject to self-quarantine while traveling, except when performing essential functions. Self-quarantine means travelers must remain in their hotel rooms, order food delivery, and not receive visitors. When they return to their island residence, they are not subject to quarantine, but are required to wear appropriate protective gear – primarily masks – and follow all social distancing requirements.
     Those traveling for medical or health care are not subject to self-quarantine, as long as they wear appropriate protective gear and follow social distancing requirements.

     Violations of this order could result in a misdemeanor with fines of up to $5,000 and/or up to one year in prison, or both.

     Lt. Gov Josh Green emphasized that 3,000 people have died in U.S., more than during 9/11, and pressed for people to follow the rules of staying at home and practicing social distancing.

     During the press conference, government officials presented maps that show the number of cases around the state. None are shown for Kaʻū but South Kona has some.

     See more from the state Department of Health here.

   

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.


DAILY COVID-19 UPDATE: The state Department of Health reports 15 active cases of COVID-19 confirmed on Hawaiʻi Island as of March 31. One, a resident, is new since yesterday.

     Throughout the state, there are 224 cases, with 22 reported today – 21 on Oʻahu. There has been one death, today, from COVID-19 in the state – see article above. There are several possible community spread cases of COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi.

     According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has recorded 189,624 cases. The death toll in the U.S. is more than 3,800. The recovery number is 7,136.

     Worldwide, 860,181 people have become victims of COVID-19. The death toll is 42,345. The recovery total is 178,359.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

BIG ISLAND GIVING TREE will be at St. Jude's tomorrow, Wednesday, with fresh produce and avocados at 3 p.m. Drive-thru only. Free to whomever needs, first come first served.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

The state Department of Health maps of COVID-19 cases shows no cases in Kaʻū, but health care professionals 
and public officials ask residents to make sure they follow the stay-at-home and distancing practices.







HAWAIʻI WILL REACH ITS PEAK IN COVID-19 cases around April 30, according to projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. See them here. The projected number of cases tops 2,000. IHME bases its estimates, in part, on state-mandated social distancing. In Hawaiʻi on March 19, educational facilities closed; on March 25, the stay-at-home order was enacted and non-essential services closed. The projection, however, doesn't consider travel that is severely limited, now that tourism is mostly non-existent, the 4-day quarantine for travel from outside the state is in place, and the interisland flight restrictions go into place on Wednesday. IHME updates its projections regularly. The Kaʻū Calendar contacted IHME and asked for clarification this morning.

     In his press conference this afternoon, Gov. David Ige said he contacted IHME to make sure the researchers adjust their model to include the extreme travel restrictions in Hawaiʻi.
     The IHME projections predict that Hawaiʻi will need 1,110 hospital beds, short 154, with 956 currently available. It projects that 165 ICU beds will be needed, short 123, with 45 currently available. It predicts that 134 ventilators will be needed.
     The model also predicts 374 COVD-19 deaths in Hawaiʻi, beginning in early April and ending in late June. See the projections for the country and for each state at covid19.heathdata.org. IHME predicts almost 84,000 deaths in the U.S.by Aug. 14, with the peak number of cases and deaths per day in April.

     The IHME Director is Christopher Murray, Chair of the Department of Health Metrics Services at University of Washington. Read more about the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations at healthdata.org. The Institute’s slogan is "Measuring what matters."


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HAWAIʻI RANKS THIRD IN AGGRESSIVE MEASURES TO PREVENT AND CONTAIN COVID-19, according to a study released Tuesday by WalletHub. Californiaand Rhode Island rank first and second. However, Hawaiʻi ranks 49th in Economic Impact, which relates to its extreme dependence on tourism. In a ranking called Risk Factors & Infrastructure, which considers the health care delivery system, poverty, and other factors, Hawaiʻi ranks 45th.
     Other rankings showing Hawaiʻi's preparedness include third place for the population being covered by health insurance, with only Massachusetts and District of Columbia higher. The states with the lowest number of
health insured are Oklahoma, Alaska, and Texas.

     Hawaiʻi ranks fourth highest in public health care spending per capita, following District of Columbia, Alaska, and New Mexico.

     Hawaiʻi ranks third in lowest share of at-risk population of the chronically ill, after Minnesotaand Colorado. The states with the most-at-risk populations are Kentucky, Alabama, and West Virginia.

     The worst metric for Hawaiʻi in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic relates to financial health and reliance on tourism. Hawaiʻi ranks 49th in Highest Accommodation & Food Services; Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation; and Public Transportation Output, as Share of Total State GDP. Hawaiʻi ties with Nevadaand Alaska. The states with the least tourism dependency in terms of GDP are Delaware, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

     Hawaiʻi also has the second Highest Share of Workforce in Accommodations & Food Services, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Bus Service & Urban Transit; Air Transportation; and Taxi Service. Only Nevada has more, and Florida is right behind Hawaiʻi. States with the least share of workforce related to travel are Iowa, Nebraska, and Arkansas.

     While Hawaiʻi is one of the most aggressive states in fighting COVID, it ranks as second highest overall in influenza and pneumonia death rate per capita, with only Mississippisuffering more. The reason, says the state Department of Health's Influenza Surveillance Program, is that the seasonal flu "is a common illness occurring every year primarily between the months of November and May," and that due to Hawaiʻi's "high volume tourism and tropical climates, we experience flu year round."


To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

CORONAVIRUS-RELATED SCAMS TARGETING SENIORS are the target of Sen. Mazie Hirono, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and colleagues. They recently called upon Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons to boost consumer protection for seniors and take more measures to better inform them about these scams.

     The Senators cite reports that, during this time of heightened public fears, scammers are targeting seniors with fake coronavirus tests and vaccines. The letter notes that more needs to be done to protect seniors, who lose an estimated $3 billion annually from financial scams.

     "While the FTC has added information to its website to inform consumers about COVID-19 scams, we believe additional measures must be taken to educate seniors and provide consumers with information about how to seek recourse if they are targeted. Given the seriousness of this issue and the growing public health emergency, we urge the FTC to take action to better inform seniors about COVID-19-related fraud and assist victims in understanding their recourse options," the Senators wrote. Read the entire letter here.


To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.


THE STATE HEALTH PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT AGENCY has a new leader. Gov. David Ige announced the appointment this week. Serafin "Jun" Colmenares Jr. is the new administrator of SHPDA. He steps up from serving as acting administrator and SHPDA Comprehensive Health Planning Coordinator, providing staffing for health planning councils.

     As administrator, Colmenares oversees the state's Certificate of Need program, which regulates the construction, expansion, initiation, or modification of a health care facility or services in Hawaiʻi. He also oversees the state Health Services and Facilities Plan, which addresses health care needs for
Serafin "Jun" Colmenares, Jr.
inpatient care, healthcare facilities, and special needs. "The plan reflects the most economical and efficient system of care commensurate with adequate qualify of care, and includes standards for utilization of health care facilities and major medical equipment," says a statement from the governor.

     Bruce Anderson, health director, said, "Jun's expertise and wealth of experience in public health planning is a welcome addition to the Department of Health. His experience in capacity building and community collaboration will be highly beneficial for enhancing the health care needs of our island community."

     Under his direction, SHPDA is also responsible for collecting health care utilization data from providers across the state, which is produced into an annual Utilization Report. The report is used as a tool to assess health care services utilization, trends, needs, and costs by Certificate of Need applicants, providers, health market analysts, economists, researchers, etc.

     Colmenares holds a master's degree in public health from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in addition to master's and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Delhi in India. He also earned a bachelor's degree in political science and a graduate certificate in governmental management from MindanaoStateUniversityin the Philippines.

     Prior to joining SHPDA, Colmenares established and served as executive director of the Office of Language Access between 2007 and 2015. During that time, he earned the 2013 William J. Harris Equal Opportunity Award from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, for achieving a national standard of excellence in the development and implementation of an effective equal opportunity program in Hawaiʻi.

     Colmenares has also held positions at the Executive Office on Aging, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Hawaiʻi Medical Service Association, and East West Center Population Institute.

     The state Health Planning and Development Agency promotes accessibility for all the people of Hawaiʻi to quality health care services at reasonable cost. SHPDA supports the most economical and efficient use of the health care system and resources through coordinated community planning of new health care services and construction. For more information, visit health.hawaii.gov/shpda.


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RESTORE OPEN GOVERNMENT is the message from Common Cause Hawaiʻi, which sent sent a letter today to Gov. David Ige and the state's four county mayors, signed by more than 40 groups and individuals. Hawaiʻi's open meetings and open records laws were suspended in mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which also prompted the governor to declare a statewide stay-at-home order.
     "We commend our Hawaiʻi elected leaders for recognizing the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and taking action to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the people of Hawaiʻi," states the letter drafted by Common Cause. "[But] in times of emergency, the Constitution is not suspended. In fact, it is needed even more."
     In an email to the governor and mayors, Common Cause Executive Director Sandy Ma described the letter as "from a broad range of groups and individuals regarding the need for transparency and democracy by government during times of crisis. We respectfully ask that government abide by these principles for the betterment of our republic."
     Signers include ACLU Hawaiʻi, the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, the Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action, the Health Committee of the Democratic Party, the Libertarian Party of Hawaiʻi, the Media Council Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiʻi chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Hawaiʻi's Thousand Friends, the National Association of Social Workers-Hawaiʻi, the West Maui Taxpayers Association, and the Grassroot Institute of Hawaiʻi. See the four-page letter here.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

UH Ag Extension agent Andrea Kawabata urges Kaʻū Coffee growers: "Don't let your guard down;"  by
staying on top of CBB pests on the farms.  Photo by Julia Neal
A MESSAGE TO FARMERS AND GROWERS came from University of Hawaiʻi Agricultural Extension Agent Andrea Kawabataon Tuesday:

     "I hope you are all doing well, staying healthy, and exercising due diligence by staying home and being courteous to others. YOU, Hawaiʻi's farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and gardeners are so important in keeping us fed, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is, however, an unfortunate time, and many, if not all of us, are being affected by the shut-down. We at CTAHR will continue to serve and support you to the best of our abilities.

     "If you have questions about your farm, trees, etc., please email me at andreak@hawaii.edu and provide me with a contact number if you'd rather discuss things over the phone. If you are noticing a problem or something unusual on your farm or plants, please send clear photos to my email, as I do not have a work cell phone. If you prefer, I do also have Zoom and Facetime. In trying to keep everyone safe and healthy, and to minimize contact/travel under the current orders from the governor, we can try doing a Zoom or Facetime farm visit too. Let's see how we can work with the current situation for the best outcomes."

     Kawabata also sent out a message to coffee farmers: "Don't let your guard down. Stay on top of your spraying to kill and manage CBB infestation levels. If you must, do a pre-harvest picking to remove mature green berries in which CBB has entered the seed and is in the C/D position. Spraying will not kill CBB in this position, and CBB will continue to develop and then infest surrounding berries."


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THE FOOD ACCESS COORDINATOR FOR COUNTY OF HAWAIʻI has released an updated collection of resources for farmers, to increase food access, and to bring awareness to existing community efforts. Those with additional resources can call Sarah Friedman at 808-961-8582. Financial assistance sponsors for farmers include:

     American Farmland Trust - Farmer Relief Program, which will provide up to $1,000 per farmer. 
     The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service plans to provide $27 million for  Farmers Markets And Local Food Projects to include direct-to-consumer projects.

     The Healy Foundation COVID-19 Response Grants will go to nonprofits in Oregonand Hawaiʻi. Maximum award is $25,000 and grants are 100 percent unrestricted. Applicants will provide their organization's budget and answer three brief questions. Click the link to learn more.

     Hawaiʻi Community Foundation COVID-19 Response Grants will be given to move resources quickly, forgoing a formal application process for the Fund. Email grants@hcf-hawaii.org.

     See more on farmer resources in future Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs and here.

Print edition of The Kaʻū Calendar is free to 6,250 mailboxes 

throughout Kaʻū, from Miloliʻi through Volcano, and free on 

stands throughout the district. Read online at kaucalendar.com

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Daily, weekly, and monthly recurring Kaʻū and Volcano Events, Meetings, Entertainment, Exercise, Meditation, and more are listed at kaucalendar.com. However, all non-essential activities are canceled through the end of April.

All Kaʻū High School and other public school sporting events are canceled through the end of April.

Spring Break for Public Schools is extended through Thursday, April 30 for COVID-19 spread mitigation.

MOST UPCOMING EVENTS are cancelled for the month of April, to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

ONGOING
Free Breakfast and Lunch for Anyone Eighteen and Under is available at Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary weekdays through at least the end of April. Each youth must be present to receive a meal. Service is drive-up or walk-up, and social distancing rules (at least six feet away) are observed. Breakfast is served 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m., lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

St. Jude's Episcopal Church Soup Kitchen is open, with a modified menu and increased health & safety standards, every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hot showers, the computer lab, and in-person services and bible studies are suspended. Services are posted online on Sundays at stjudeshawaii.org.


The Food Basket Food Pantries:

     The Ocean View location is St. Jude's Episcopal Church at 92-8606 Paradise Circle Mauka, where The Food Basket provides 14 days of food per family, distributed the last Tuesday of the month from  to 

     The Nāʻālehu location is Sacred Hearts Church at 95-558 Mamālahoa Hwy where the The Food Basket provides the Loaves and Fishes program to distribute 14 days of food per family on the second and fourth Thursday of the month from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Call 928-8208.

     The Pāhala location is Kaʻū District Gym at 96-1149 Kamani Street where The Food Basket provides the ʻO Kaʻū Kākou Pantry to give 14 days of food per family on the last Thursday of the Month at 11:30 a.m. Call 933-6030.

     The Volcano location is Cooper Center at 19-4030 Wright Road where The Food Basket provides 14 days of food per family to distribute on the last Thursday of the month at 3:30 p.m. Call Kehau at 443-4130.


A Free Dinner for Those in Need is served at Volcano Cooper Center at 19-4030 Wright Road every Thursday, by Friends Feeding Friends, between  and 


On Call Emergency Food Pantry is open at Cooper Center Monday through Friday,  It is operated by The Food Basket. Call 808-933-6030.

The Next Learning Packet and Student Resource Distribution for Nāʻālehu Elementary School Students is Monday, April 13. The packets are designed for learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and can be picked up every two weeks. One family member may pick up for several students in the same family. Students need not be present for the learning resources to be retrieved. Please note the grade of each child. Distribution times are organized by the first letter of the student's last name at the site closest to their home. Supplies will be given out simultaneously.
     Everyone is asked to observe social distancing rules, staying 6 feet away from others during pick-up. See the school website, naalehuel.hidoe.us, for more information and updates.

     Distribution in the Nāʻālehu area is at Nāʻālehu Elementary, Waiʻōhinu, and Discovery Harbour Community Center. Distribution in Ocean View is at the county's Kahuku Park, the area in front of Malama Market, and Ocean ViewCommunity Center.

     At Nāʻālehu Elementary, campus pick-up will be from 9 a.m - 9:20 a.m. for A-H;  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

     The Waiʻōhinu pick-up:  for A-H,  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

     The Discovery Harbour Community Center pick-up:  for A-H,  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

     Morning distribution at Kahuku Park for A-H,  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

     Evening distribution at Kahuku Park for A-H,  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

     Times for distribution in front of Malama Market are:  for A-H,  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

     Times for distribution at Ocean View Community Center are  for A-H,  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

Kaʻū Art Gallery is looking for local artists. Call 808-937-1840.

Register for Volcano's ʻŌhiʻa Lehua Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, and Keiki Dash by Wednesday, July 22. The second annual event will be held on Saturday, July 25. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to University of Hawaiʻi for furthering research of Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death and The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences. See webscorer.com to register.

     Half Marathon registration is $70 through May 24, $80 May 25 through July 22, and $90 for late registration. Registration for the 10K is $50 through May 24, $55 May 25 through Jul 22, and $60 for late registration. Registration for the 5K is $35 through May 24, $40 May 25 through July 22, and $45 for late registration. Keiki Dash registration is $10. All registrations are non-transferable and non-refundable.
     Late registration is only available at packet pickup or race day morning. Shirts are not guaranteed for late registration.  Race Shirts will be included for Half Marathon and 10K participants only. For all other participants, shirts are available to purchase online.

     Packet pick-up is scheduled for Thursday, July 23 in Hilo; Friday, July 26 in Volcano; and Saturday, July 27,  at the race start.
     Half Marathon will start at  Other distances follow shortly after. Keiki Dash will begin at  on VSAS grounds, with the option of one or two laps – about 300 meters or 600 meters. Race cut-off time for the Half Marathon is four hours. The races will begin and end in Volcano Village at VSAS.
     See ohialehuahalf.com.

Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium Closed for Renovation through June 30. The Park is closed until further notice due to COVID-19 spread mitigation. A popular seven-and-a-half minute 2018 eruption video will be shown on a television in the exhibits area, once the Park and center reopen, and is available online for free download.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.



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