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Ka‘ū News Briefs, Monday, April 20, 2020

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A state rule to enforce wearing a face mask at any place where people are interacting for services or purchases
went into effect statewide today. The fine is up to $5,000 and up to a year in jail. Social distancing is also required.
 Photo by Lora Botanova

THE MORTALITY RATE FOR COVID-19 IS 0.7 PERCENT in Hawaiʻi. Lt. Gov Josh Green, a physician and State COVID-19 Healthcare Liaison, gave the message in his update today. 
Lt. Gov. Josh Green
     Green noted that the 0.7 percent mortality rate is second lowest in the United States, behind Wyoming. He reported a 15 percent use of ventilators in this state and that 584 people have tested positive, 423 have been released from isolation, a 72.4 percent recovery rate.
     Green said, "I know people are getting anxious to get back to 'normal.' I want to acknowledge that I am so impressed and pleased with the way our residents have stepped up for each other to help prevent a catastrophic surge of cases in our state... We did a great job of flattening this curve, but there is a risk of additional spikes in cases if we're not careful. We are diligently working to ensure we reopen Hawaiʻi in a careful, thoughtful way that keeps people healthy and safe, while jumpstarting our economy as much as possible."
     With four new cases today statewide, none on Oʻahu, the restrictions in travel, and social distancing and masks, appear to have prevented the surge in cases that were predicted earlier. Green called it "phenomenal" and said that there could have been 4,500 deaths here.
     A graph published by the State of Hawaiʻi today shows new cases in decline since March 18. If the trend continues, the peak will have been much earlier than the predicted end of April.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar and our latest print edition 

THE DAILY COVID-19 UPDATES from county Civil Defense report the number of people who tested positive for Hawaiʻi Island, to date, is 63. Thirty-three have been cleared as recovered and the remaining 30 are quarantined at home and monitored by the Department of Health.
Civil Defense Director 
Talmadge Magno.
Photo  Big Island Video News
     Civil Defense reported that the Kona McDonald's cluster counts for 32 of this total; 18 are employees, and 14 household members. "Department of Health continues their investigation on this cluster and based on their findings thus far, Department of Health believes this outbreak does not pose a threat to the public."
     Civil Defense Director Talmadge Magno reported that drive through testing was conducted today at Nāʻālehu Community Center "from 9 this morning till 1 this afternoon. Know that early testing means early detection and early care. Thank you, Premiere Medical Group, Bay Clinic, Hope Services, and the Hawaiʻi County Task Force for conducting this service. Do know, that effective today, mandatory face coverings are in effect for all businesses and their customers. Please call Civil Defense if additional information is needed. Thank you for listening and have a nice day. This is your Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense."
     Statewide, nearly 25,000 people have been tested. Positive COVID-19 cases are at 582, with 423 released from isolation. Ten people have died, all on Oʻahu and Maui.
     After the death of a Washington state visitor from COVID-19 over the weekend, Gov. David Ige offered condolences to the man's family and friends, saying this was another sign of the seriousness of this disease and continued adherence to his stay-at-home orders and other measures designed to flatten the curve of coronavirus infections in Hawai‘i.
     Nationally, the death toll has reached 42,604. There are nearly 800,000 cases, with 72,368 recovered.
One case of COVID-19 is reported in Kaʻū.
     Worldwide, 2,480,769 cases are recorded, with more than 170,000 dead and nearly 635,000 recovered.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

THE MANDATORY WEARING OF MASKS went into effect statewide today. It requires most persons engaging in business, including vendors and customers, to cover their noses and mouths with face masks. The ruling came from Gov. David Ige and the penalty for violating the order is up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

BAY CLINIC reports that its patients can go to its clinic in Nāʻālehu for COVID screening/testing during business hours. Patients will first be evaluated to see if they qualify for testing. "It is highly encouraged that patients call ahead with questions regarding COVID screening/testing at 333-3600. Signage is posted at the clinic. Patients can ring the doorbell and a Bay Clinic staff member will come out to assist," says a statement received from Bay Clinic today.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar and our latest print edition 

Amy Okuyama sews masks for the employees at
the 76 station and Wiki-Wiki Mart in Nāʻālehu.
Photo by Carl Okuyama
SEWING MASKS FOR KAʻŪ WORKERS WHO INTERACT WITH THE PUBLIC is an ongoing activity among a number of Kaʻū-connected citizens. Amy Okuyama, of the Wiki-Wiki Mart family, sewed masks for the employees.
 
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

URGENT CORONAVIRUS TESTING, MEDICAL CARE, AND RELIEF BENEFITS should go to immigrant workers in agriculture, grocery stores, health care, and other essential services. That is the call from Sen. Mazie K. Hirono and California Rep. Judy Chu. They led 28 Senators and 76 Members of the House of Representatives in writing to members of Congressional leadership, saying, "As Congress responds to the critical needs of our country during the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge you to ensure that the vital protections and economic lifelines provided in coronavirus relief legislation are accessible to all communities, regardless of immigration status or limited English proficiency. COVID-19 has caused one of the greatest public health and economic crises our Nation has ever faced, and it requires a whole-of-society approach. A response that leaves out immigrants—many of whom are on the front lines in our fight against COVID-19—will be ineffective and detrimental to our efforts to stop this pandemic."
     Earlier this month, Hirono, Sen. Kamala Harris, and colleagues in the House, released the Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act, legislation that would provide critical assistance to vulnerable communities impacted by COVID-19, regardless of immigration status or English language proficiency. The legislation is supported by more than 70 organizations, including labor unions, civil rights groups, and immigrant rights groups.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

THE STATE'S NEW ECONOMIC RECOVERY & RESILIENCY NAVIGATOR, Alan Oshima, addressed the press at the State Capitol today. Appointed by Gov. David Ige to help coordinate Hawaiʻi's post-COVID-19 economic recovery, he laid out guiding principles and encouraged public and private leaders to practice them during the public health and economic crisis:
     His guiding principles: Be visible, purposeful and authentic. Use multiple clock speeds (i.e. consider the now, next, and later). Cut through bureaucracy. Be flexible, focus on execution. Engage externally. Adapt and innovate.
Alan Oshima provided guiding principles for economic recovery.
Photo from Hawaiʻi Electric Industries
     Oshima also laid out a three-phase plan for reopening Hawaiʻi's economy.
     Phase One: Stabilization – focus on stabilizing the number of COVID-19 cases.
     Phase Two: Reopen and recover, beginning with gradual, sequenced reopening of normal activities.
     Phase Three: Build a resilient economy with strong business and job growth.
     He focused on Phase One, saying stabilization includes prevention, testing, and quarantine; treatment; socio-economic sustenance; communication; financing; and governance. Oshima said four actions would lead to effective governance during the stabilization phase, including making transparent, data-informed decisions early; delivering results and coordinating across localities; enabling bi-directional communications to disseminate information and mobilize action; enforcing and utilizing self-regulating mechanisms and consistent levels to encourage compliance with issued guidelines; and monitoring by developing a system to track and assess compliance of businesses and people to adjust strategies.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

HAWAIʻI ISLAND WILL RECEIVE A NEW PILOT SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT PROGRAM, through a $2 million emergency grant to the state Department of Health. Sen. Mazie Hirono made the announcement on the federal funding today. The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division of the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health received the money from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to expand and strengthen access to substance abuse and mental health treatment.
A pilot substance abuse treatment program on Hawaiʻi Island will soon receive its funding. Image by Roland Miranda
     The state Department of Health is expected to use the funding to not only bring a new pilot substance abuse treatment program to Hawaiʻi Island, but also to increase telepsychiatry services in collaboration with the University of Hawaiʻi's School of Medicine, expand access to behavioral health services to the homeless community, and assist healthcare workers at the front line of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
     "The stresses of the coronavirus pandemic are driving additional demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment in Hawaiʻi and across the country," said Hirono. "This funding will support the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health's ongoing efforts to assist Hawaiʻi residents in need, and I will continue to advocate for funding to support crucial mental health and substance abuse treatment in the weeks and months ahead."
     The $2 million emergency grant was part of a $110 million initiative to assist states in addressing the growing need for mental health and substance abuse treatment during the pandemic, that Congress included in the third coronavirus relief legislation that passed in March.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

VOLUNTEERS WILL HELP PROCESS MORE THAN 240,000 UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS in Hawaiʻi. Hundreds of workers from the state House of Representatives, Hawaiʻi Government Employees Association, Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association, and University of Hawaiʻi Professional Assembly, with the support of Gov. David Ige's administration, have come together to volunteer to train and work with the state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations to process the backlog of unemployment claims from the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
     The large-scale, coordinated operation aims to address skyrocketing unemployment claims that number over 240,000 and affect more than one-third of Hawaiʻi's workforce.
     "We recognized that a massive amount of help would be needed to tackle the backlog of unemployment insurance claims that exploded in a few of weeks. The fastest way to tackle this enormous problem was to coordinate an unprecedented, across-government effort," said House Finance Committee Chair Sylvia Luke. "This effort was stood up in just three days."
     House Labor Committee Chair Aaron Ling Johanson said, "Hawaiʻi is a special place where everyone steps up to help each other, and today's unprecedented partnership is due in large part to HGEA spear-heading a successful volunteer drive with HSTA and
UHPA that generously provided over 300 volunteer state workers from across state government. Over 70 plus volunteers are also coming from the State House of Representatives and the Legislative Reference Bureau to aid in the effort. The processing of an Unemployment Insurance claim is tedious and complicated and DLIR was working day and night to process them. This should provide much-needed assistance to exponentially increase the processing capabilities of the state to deal with the outstanding unemployment insurance claims and get people the relief they need."
     House Speaker Scott Saiki said, "I want to thank the volunteers, the unions, the State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, Department of Accounting & General Services, Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, and Office of Enterprise Technology Services for helping to make this tremendous effort possible."
     Along with hundreds of other state workers, Representatives Saiki, Della Au Belatti, Sylvia Luke, Aaron Ling Johanson, Tom Brower, Lisa Kitagawa, Stacelynn K.M. Eli, and Ty J.K. Cullen, have volunteered to take the training and learn to process claims.
     Training sessions will be held this week on Oʻahu at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center on Monday and Tuesday, with newly trained volunteers expected to start processing claims by Wednesday.
     State employees who would like to volunteer can sign-up at hawaiiworks.org and contact their union representatives or department deputy directors.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

HAWAIʻI REALTORS CHARITABLE FOUNDATION is giving $12,500 to The Food Basket on Hawaiʻi Island. The gift is a portion of $50,000 going to food banks across the Islands impacted by the coronavirus. The Foundation was launched by Hawaiʻi Realtors, the trade association for the real estate industry in these islands.
     Moana Andersen, president of the Hawaiʻi Realtors Charitable Foundation, said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has put additional strain on our community resources, including our most basic need for food. Hawaiʻi Realtors are in the business of people, so it pains us to think of anyone going hungry during this time. We are proud that our foundation's first contribution to our communities will support local food banks in the critical mission of feeding Hawaiʻi.
     Hawaiʻi Foodbank said this week it is planning to purchase $200,000 worth of agricultural products from local farmers for its program that provides fresh produce to the homeless, low-income individuals, and people with disabilities, as well as its program for low-income seniors.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

EMERGENCY ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE FUNDING OF $2 million has gone to the state Department of Health. Sen. Mazie Hirono made the announcement on the federal funding today. The
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division of the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health received the money from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to expand and strengthen access to substance abuse and mental health treatment.
     Hirono said, "The stresses of the coronavirus pandemic are driving additional demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment in Hawaiʻi and across the country. This funding will support the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health's ongoing efforts to assist Hawaiʻi residents in need, and I will continue to advocate for funding to support crucial mental health and substance abuse treatment in the weeks and months ahead."
     The state Department of Health is expected to use the funding to bring a new pilot substance abuse treatment program to Hawaiʻi Island, increase telepsychiatry services in collaboration with the University of Hawaiʻi's School of Medicine, expand access to behavioral health services to the homeless community, and assist healthcare workers at the front line of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
     The $2 million emergency grant was part of a $110 million initiative to assist states in addressing the growing need for mental health and substance abuse treatment during the pandemic that Congress included in the third coronavirus relief legislation that passed in March.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

HAWAIʻI AND ALASKA ARE THE WORST STATES FOR WORKING AT HOME, according to a WalletHub study released today. It highlights areas that thrive and those that struggle in this pandemic economy. Among states and Washington, D.C.,  Hawaiʻi ranked 50 and Alaska 51 for working at home. Just ahead of Hawaiʻi are Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and North Dakota.
     According to the WalletHub study, "As COVID-19 has continued to spread in the U.S., state governments have ordered 'non-essential' businesses to close their buildings. This has left business owners with a few options: let employees work from home, lay them off, or furlough them. Prior to this pandemic, just 25 percent of all workers in the U.S. had worked from home, and only 29 percent were able to do so. However, people who are allowed to work from home may not always have the best environment for doing so. The best work-from-home conditions include low costs, reasonable comfort, and a high level of security."
     The metric that ranked Hawaiʻi one of the worst for working at home was the residential retail price of electricity at 31.70 cents per kWH, The lowest electrical bills are in North Dakota, at 9.01 cents per kWH.
     The overall data set for the WalletHub study ranges from the share of workers working from home before COVID-19, to internet cost and cybersecurity. The calculation also considered factors like size and crowding of living spaces.
     The study showed that Colorado has the highest share of the labor force working from home, 7.70 percent, which is 3.3 times higher than in Mississippi, the state with the lowest at 2.30 percent. New Hampshire has the highest share of households with a broadband internet subscription, 78.80 percent, which is 1.7 times higher than in Mississippi, the state with the lowest at 46.80 percent.
     Connecticut has the highest share of households with access to broadband speeds over 25 Mbps, 98.70 percent, which is 1.5 times higher than in Mississippi, the state with the lowest at 65.40 percent. South Dakota has the fewest cybercrime victims per 100,000 residents, 54.73, which is four times fewer than in Nevada, the state with the most at 218.31. Indiana has the lowest amount lost per victim as a result of internet crime, $2,465.73, which is 11.5 times lower than in Ohio, the state with the highest at $28,394.32.

Read online at kaucalendar.comSee our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar directory for farms, 
ranches, takeoutPrint edition of The Kaʻū Calendar is free, with 7,500 distributed on stands and 
to all postal addresses throughout Kaʻū, from Miloliʻi through Volcano throughout the district. 
Read online at kaucalendar.com and facebook.com/kaucalendar. To advertise your business or
your social cause, contact kaucalendarads@gmail.com.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar 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.

MOST EVENTS ARE CANCELLED for the month of April, to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The state is under a stay-at-home order, with l4 days of quarantine required for anyone coming into the state. Interisland travel is restricted. Those in Hawaiʻi should stay at home unless needing to obtain food or medical care.

ONGOING
Free Breakfast and Lunch for Anyone Eighteen and Under is available at Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary and at Nāʻālehu 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. Food is being delivered to Ocean View.

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 Distribution, where families can receive 14 days of food per family:

     The Ocean View location for May is to be announced
     The Nāʻālehu location is Sacred Heart Church at 95-558 Mamālahoa Hwy, under their Loaves and Fishes program, on Thursday, April 23 from  to  Call 928-8208.

     The Pāhala location is Kaʻū District Gym at 96-1149 Kamani Street, distributed by the ʻO Kaʻū Kākou Pantry, on Thursday, April 30 at  Call 933-6030.
     The Volcano location is Cooper Center at 19-4030 Wright Road Wednesday, April 29 from 11 a.m. until food runs out. Call Kehau at 443-4130.


On Call Emergency Food Pantry is open at Cooper Center Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon. Call 808-933-6030.

The Next Learning Packet and Student Resource Distribution for Nāʻālehu Elementary School Students will be Monday, April 27. 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.

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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