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Ka‘ū News Briefs, Friday, April 24, 2020

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             See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar directory for farms, ranches, takeout.
Kaʻū Hospital provides extra security for its long-term patients with a check in station outside the entrance.
See more below. Photo by Lora Botanova
THE CLIMATE ACTION PLAN FOR HAWAIʻI COUNTY is ready for public comments. The first draft is available here. A statement from County Department of Research & Development says, "This document is the next step forward for Hawai‘i County to reach its Greenhouse Gas emissions goals, and to protect the health and safety of our communities. Implementing the actions and strategies outlined in this plan will enable Hawai‘i Island to become more sustainable and self-reliant, while playing its role in mitigating global climate change." Comments and feedback should be submitted to the county at sustainability@hawaiicounty.gov no later than May 31.
     "During these times of preventative steps taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many people are noticing the true impact that human behavior has on nature. The County estimates it will see a drop of 1,482,319.546 MTCO2, or a 42 percent reduction, in total emissions, due to the decrease in air travel and vehicle miles traveled, due to Stay-At-Home and Social Distancing measures," says the county's statement released today.
     In addition to mitigating GHG emissions, the plan also aims for Hawai‘i Island to produce all of its energy demand domestically and through renewable alternatives to fossil fuels; provide clean and accessible public mobility; encourage zero waste behavior; and expand conservation and preservation of natural areas. "The Climate Action Plan increases the County's commitment to deliver equitable solutions to improving our community's health, wellness, and economic resiliency," says the statement. "The Climate Action Plan will continue to be updated and improved to reflect the values and priorities of our community as we reach our goals. Please share your mana‘o on this important initiative."
     See more on the draft in upcoming Kaʻū News Briefs stories. See the complete draft at docs.google.com/document/d/1cGPQ20MVTOMwYyyfcbChSnSXdlo4linpIXcU23Ypl-A/edit.

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.

KAʻŪ HOSPITAL PROTECTS ITS RESIDENTS AND IS PREPARED FOR COVID-19. Marilyn Harris, administrator at Kaʻū Hospital, told Hawaiʻi Public Radio that one challenge is to ensure that long-term patients remain isolated from those who have other medical issues. The hospital set up an outdoor medical screening area for people going for testing at its lab or to see a medical care provider. It established a no-visitor policy for the hospital building more than a month ago.
Only personnel and screened patients can enter Kaʻū Hospital during
 the pandemic. Photo by Julia Neal
     On Thursday, Hawaiʻi Public Radio's The Conversation aired reporter Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi's interview with Harris and Jessie Marques, Executive Director of Kaʻū Rural Health Community Association. Marques told HPR that Kaʻū District is 921 square miles – an area the size of Oʻahu. Kaʻū is the only hospital in the district, with 21 beds, 17 of them for long-term care patients.
     Harris told HPR that, should a COVID-19 case come to Kaʻū Hospital, the first option would be to transfer the person to Hilo Medical Center. Should Hilo have too many, Kaʻū Hospital could take the patient. Should Kaʻū experience a tremendous surge, Kaʻū Hospital could add more beds. One of its challenges, however, is that it is equipped with one ventilator.
     To date there has been no confirmed COVID-19 case in Volcano, Ocean View, or Pāhala, the home of Kaʻū Hospital. One case was confirmed in the 96772 zip code area, where Discovery Harbour, Mark Twain, Green Sands, Kamaola, Nāʻālehu, Waiʻōhinu, and South Point neighborhoods are located. Concerning a possible surge in Kaʻū, Harris said, "Of course we are praying that does not happen."
Kaʻū Rural Health Community Association entrance
in Pāhala. Photo by Julia Neal
     Concerning readiness, she said, "We have a very small medical staff so we don't have a lot of backup should one of them get sick. The only kind of positive in all that, is that with the respect to the impact of our location, I'm getting access to needed supplies. We've had to deal with a number of natural disasters over the years, from the volcano to the earthquakes to brushfires. So in some ways, that is sort of an advantage, so we kind of know how to prepare, so we have what we need."
     She mentioned the hospital received donations of N95 masks from community members, who obtained them during the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. She said widespread testing is key, but that she has not seen enough testing yet in Kaʻū.
     Harris has past experience with a pandemic. She worked on the SARS Pandemic when she served in the administration in the Department of Health for Ontario, Canada.

     Hiraishi reported for HPR only "light details" about the one COVID-19 case presently in Kaʻū. Whether the case is related to travel, or if victim is a resident or visitor, has not yet been released to the public.
      Listen to the interview at hawaiipublicradio.org/post/conversation-how-hawaiis-rural-communities-prepare-covid-19.


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.

MORE VOLUNTEERS FOR THE MEDICAL RESERVE CORPS are needed by the state Department of Health and Healthcare Association of Hawaiʻi. Volunteer health care professionals would provide medical evaluation and care, vaccinations, and assist with distributing medications in the event of COVID-19 surges in island communities. Medical Reserve Corps volunteers may also support preparedness activities such as community education and training.
     A statement from DOH says, "With COVID-19 as unpredictable an enemy as Hawaiʻi has ever faced, preparing for the possibility of a medical surge in our health care facilities has never been more important."
     Register online at the state of Hawaiʻi's Na Lima Kakoo volunteer health care professionals online registration page.


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.

National Guard Helicopter Brings in Masks for the Needy
Hawaiʻi National Guard in Hilo takes delivery of 200,000 surgical masks donated by Every1Hawaii. The masks will be 
distributed islandwide to the vulnerable and resource-limited population. Vibrant Hawaiʻi will use its network of charitable 
organizations to channel the masks to the needy. HPM provides storage for the masks. Photo courtesy of County of Hawaiʻi
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.

SHARED RIDE TAXI COUPON EXPIRATION DATES are extended. The county Mass Transit Agency made the announcement today. "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our Shared Ride users are unable to use the Shared Ride Taxi Coupons within the timeframe allowed. For the convenience of our users, the Hawaiʻi County Mass Transit Agency is extending the expiration date from April 30, 2020 to May 31, 2020. Please do not alter the expiration dates on the coupons as they will not be accepted. The Mass Transit Agency has notified the participating taxi companies of this extension." For further information, call Mass Transit at 961-8744.

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.

No COVID-19 cases so far in the zip code areas of Volcano, 
Pāhala, and Ocean View. White indicates zero cases, light 
yellow indicates one to five cases. The 96772 area in 
Kaʻū has one case recorded. Map from DOH
HAWAIʻI'S DEATH TOLL ROSE TO FOURTEEN TODAY, with the passing of two more men on Oʻahu. The state Department of Health reports one victim is an Oʻahu man who had been hospitalized since the beginning of April, was over 65-years-old, and had underlying medical conditions. He had a history of travel to Las Vegas in March. The other is also an Oʻahu man, over 65-years-old, who had also been hospitalized recently and also had underlying health conditions. His infection was the result of community-associated spread.

     Gov. Dvid Ige said, "Dawn and I join all of Hawai‘i in expressing our sincere condolences to the family and friends of two men, whose deaths were reported today. While the death rate from coronavirus in Hawai‘i is among the lowest in the nation, the tragic passing of these men emphasizes the need for social distancing, staying home when sick, washing hands, and other measures to protect everyone and prevent serious illness, hospitalizations, and deaths."

     Hawaiʻi Island has one new case of COVID-19, bringing the island's total to 69, according to DOH. Statewide, five new cases were reported, bringing the total cases to 601.

     On Hawaiʻi Island, countyCivil Defense reports 39 people have been cleared as recovered. Those remaining in quarantine are monitored by DOH. There is one male victim in KonaHospital with the virus.

     DOH reports that zero victims of COVID-19 in the islands under the age of 20 have been hospitalized. The percentage of victims 20 to 39 years old have a hospitalization rate of 3.6 percent; 40 to 59-year-olds are hospitalized at 7.5 percent; and those 60 and older at a rate of 26 percent.

     No one on Hawaiʻi Island has died from the virus.

Civil Defense Director 
Talmadge Magno.
Photo from Big Island Video News

     The daily message from Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Director Talmadge Magno says DOH continues investigating the fast food cluster incident in Kona. So far, the outbreak "does not pose a threat to the general public." He also wished everyone a happy Aloha Friday.

     In the United States, more than 952,000 cases have been confirmed. Recovery is about 11 percent, with over 101,000 recovered. The death toll is at 52,296, an increase of 4,323 in one day.

     Worldwide, more than 2.79 million have contracted COVID-19. Recovery is about 28 percent, with 781,382 recovered. The death toll is 195,920, an increase of 12,450 in one day.

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.

IDEAS FOR COVID-19 RECOVERY FOR HAWAIʻI ISLAND'S VISITOR INDUSTRY came to the County Council this week. Ross Birch, Executive Director of the Island of Hawaiʻi Visitors Bureau, gave his report via video conference. He presented Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority statistics, showing hotel occupancy rates plunging from 80 percent on Feb. 29 to under 10 percent by April 11. Fear of spreading and contracting COVID-19, accompanied by travel and quarantine mandates, created the plunge in tourism along with massive unemployment.
     Birch described the situation as "a wild ride" and "unlike anything we have ever seen in tourism." He said he supports restrictions on travel and accommodations for tourists, insisting that the visitor industry backs mitigation measures to stop COVID-19 "before we can start again." Birch shared his suggestions for restarting tourism once the pandemic is gone.
Ross Birch, Executive Director of the Island of Hawaiʻi
Visitors Bureau. Photo from Big Island Video News
     He recommended that the first visitors go to "drive-to" destinations, away from congested urban areas. He predicted that travelers will be attracted less to crowded places. He said venues with fewer COVID-19 cases and strong preventative measures will do better in attracting and serving visitors.
     He said precautions taken by airports and airlines will be necessary to keep visitors and locals safe.
     Birch predicted that hotels on Hawaiʻi Island will stay closed at least until the end of May and noted that previous bookings for July are strong and that some groups scheduled for March through June have moved to Fall or 2021. According to Birch, "Airlines will ramp up slowly, with limited flights through the end of June. In order to bring back visitors, the "initial price point for airfare and accommodations needs to be very competitive," he said.
     As a destination, travel demand remains strong for Hawaiʻi, said Birch. He also recommended creating unique experiences allowing social distancing, and promoting small group activities.
     See the presentation of Island of Hawaiʻi Visitors Bureau to the County Council on Big Island Video News.

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.

CAST BALLOTS IN THE MAIL FOR THE UPCOMING NATIONAL ELECTIONS. That is the push from Sen. Mazie Hirono who sent out a message. "Eligible voters across the country should be able to cast their ballots through mail-in voting -- which several states, including Hawaiʻi, allow. By mailing our ballots we can follow safety precautions, stay at home, and practice social distancing during this pandemic, instead of risking further exposure in the long lines and crowds at polling places."
Sen. Mazie Hirono
     Hirono said that Pres. Donald Trump and U.S. House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "continue to block efforts to expand vote-by-mail. They're terrified of a fair election -- they are afraid that when more Americans vote, Republicans lose.
     "Trump even called vote-by-mail a 'terrible thing,' even though he cast a mail-in ballot in Florida's primary last month! Recently, voters in Wisconsin were forced to jeopardize their health to exercise their right to vote in a primary election. Though the state's governor, a Democrat, had issued an executive order to reschedule the election, the state Supreme Court overturned that decision -- even though most other primaries had already been rescheduled or changed to a mail-in ballot to lessen exposure. As a result, at least seven individuals who participated in the election may have contracted coronavirus."
     Hirono called the Wisconsin voting "an absolute disgrace" and contended that it "proved that Republicans are not taking this health crisis seriously. They want to make it harder for Americans to vote -- making people choose between their health and their right to vote. We should encourage all Americans to register and vote. Voter suppression tactics are dangerous -- and one of the ways to stop this is by implementing universal vote-by-mail."
     She urged everyone to "Sign my petition to demand universal vote-by-mail so every voter can safely cast a ballot in November's elections."

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.

FARMERS, RANCHERS, AND CONSUMERS can receive aid from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, said it will "provide critical support to our farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of our food supply chain, and ensure every American continues to receive and have access to the food they need," in response to the COVID-19 national emergency.
     Perdue said. "The American food supply chain had to adapt, and it remains safe, secure, and strong, and we all know that starts with America's farmers and ranchers. This program will not only provide immediate relief for our farmers and ranchers, but it will also allow for the purchase and distribution of our agricultural abundance to help our fellow Americans in need."
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, with ag leaders on Hawaiʻi
 Island, during the last disaster, the lava flows and earthquakes of 2018.
 Photo from Purdue's Twitter
     The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will use funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and other existing USDA authorities. The program includes two major elements:
      Direct Support to Farmers and Ranchers: The program will provide $16 billion in direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers, where prices and market supply chains have been impacted. It will assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.
     USDA Purchase and Distribution: USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat. "We will begin with the procurement of an estimated $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in a variety of dairy products, and $100 million per month in meat products. The distributors and wholesalers will then provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks, community and faith based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need," said Perdue. "On top of these targeted programs, USDA will utilize other available funding sources to purchase and distribute food to those in need."
     For more on USDA's work during the COVID-19 pandemic and resources available, visit usda.gov/coronavirus.


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.

VIRTUAL COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERING is an opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is Virtual Volunteer Week Hawaiʻi, in conjunction with Earth Day. Organizers call on Hawaiʻi youth "to pitch in and take the lead in helping their communities, and to offer up ideas, creativity and passion. Virtual Volunteer is sponsored by Kanu Hawaiʻi and Blue Zones Project Hawaiʻi, with support from  Hawaiʻi Green Growth network, Hawaiʻi Department of Education, Youth Service America, and others.

     Students in Kindergarten through high school are invited to create a simple volunteer activity or service project, focusing on a community issue of importance to them, through encouraging public awareness, service, advocacy, or philanthropy.
     The mission of Virtual Volunteer Week Hawaiʻi is to "inspire youth to take action and #RespondWithAloha in their communities while following current COVID-19 health and safety guidelines." Its mission also supports the State of Hawaiʻi's Aloha+ Challenge commitment to achieving the Hawaiian Islands' long-term sustainability goals.
     Molly Mamaril, engagement lead of Blue Zones Project, said, "If you're a parent, encourage your child to join in. Youth who have participated in volunteer service projects are likely to develop essential skills, values, citizenship, and leadership throughout their time of service."
     The statement says making a difference and doing something positive through volunteerism in their community that would be greatly appreciated by residents is another reward of volunteering.
     Students can find entry information and resources to help them develop their safe and creative virtual volunteering ideas at the Virtual Volunteer Week Hawaiʻi website. Registration is open through Saturday, April 25. Students can also earn service hours by e-mailing kokua@kanuhawaii.org.

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 COVID-19 Screenings are at Bay Clinic during business hours, with appointment. Call 333-3600.
     The next drive-thru screening will be Wednesday, April 29 at Nāʻālehu Community Center from  to  Screening will be carried out by Aliʻi Health, with support from County of Hawai‘i COVID-19 Task Force, Premier Medical Group and Pathways Telehealth.

     Wearing masks is required for everyone. 
     To bypass the screening queue at community test sites, patients can call ahead to Pathways Telehealth, option 5 at 808-747-8321. The free clinic will also offer on-site screening to meet testing criteria. Physicians qualify those for testing, under the guidance of Center for Disease Control and Hawaiʻi's COVID-19 Response Task Force.

     Those visiting screening clinic will be asked to show photo ID, and any health insurance cards – though health insurance is not required to be tested. They are also asked to bring their own pens to fill in forms.
     For further information, call Civil Defense at 935-0031.

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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