Hawai‘i COVID-19 Joint Information Center Daily News Digest for 05.11.20

Mahalo to Jr. Bow Fred Hyun ’67 for sending this information.

Governor’s Office:
* Don’t Congregate, No Big-Groups, Masks in Public – Governor Reminds
At a Monday afternoon news briefing Governor David Ige again asked everyone to remain vigilant in order to stay on the right track. He commented, “We’ll lose all of our progress and the sacrifices you’ve all made if we see a surge in COVID-19 cases. All of your work will have been meaningless.” Hawai‘i has reported fewer than three new cases each of the past four days, with no new cases reported last Friday. The governor said we have flattened the curve, but the state has received numerous reports of people not following social distancing guidelines and not wearing masks while in close proximity to other people.
* CARES Act Provides $1.25 Billion to Hawai‘iWhile the appropriation of the one and a quarter billion dollars the state is receiving from the federal CARES Act does not require the legislature to take action, Governor Ige thanked law makers for their work and said he thought it was important to engage the House and the Senate for accountability and transparency. $862 million of the funding is allocated to the State for a variety of response, prevention and recovery activities. Of that amount the counties of Kaua‘i, Maui, and Hawai‘i will receive a total of $175 million. The City and County of Honolulu is receiving $387 million. The governor intends for the remaining balance of $553 million to bolster unemployment benefits for Hawai‘i residents.
* Department of Health: Two New Cases of COVID-19 Reported on O‘ahu
One adult and one minor are the latest two cases of COVID-19 being reported by DOH. Both cases are O‘ahu residents and are travel-associated. It is critical for all those who return from essential travel to stay in mandatory 14-day self-quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The total of coronavirus cases in the state is 634 since Feb. 28, 2020. For tables visit: https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/
* DOH Reminder – Check for the Green Placard Before Buying Food from Vendors
DOH is reminding you to check for the official Green “Passed” Placard before purchasing food especially from online or roadside vendors, some of who have never been inspected or licensed by state health officials. Individuals selling prepared foods without a food safety permit put people at risk of food-related illness and foodborne disease outbreaks. It is illegal to sell perishable foods without state approval and a permit from the DOH Food Safety Branch.Exemptions to state food safety regulations are homemade non-perishable baked goods candies, and snackssold directly to individuals and not sold to food establishments, retailers and distributors. For example, an office bake sale does not require a food service permit. Please contact the Food Safety Branch at (808) 586-8000 for questions or to report illegal food establishments. To check if a food establishment has a valid state food safety permit or to review inspection reports, go to: https://hi.healthinspections.us/hawaii/Read the entire news release: https://health.hawaii.gov/news/newsroom/hawaii-department-of-health-advises-the-public-to-always-check-for-the-green-passed-placard-before-purchasing-food-from-vendors/ 
* Hawai‘i Tourism Authority: 854 Passengers Arrive in Hawai‘iYesterday, 854 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 246 visitors and 334 residents.
* Legislature:House and Senate Reconvene, Public Viewing Held OnlineThe Legislature reconvened Monday and will remain in session through Monday, May 18. The session is focusing on stabilizing the state budget and budget-related bills in anticipation of a $1 billion shortfall in state revenues. The State Capitol remains closed, but anyone can still submit written testimony and livestream the proceedings:https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/broadcasts.aspx
* Department of Hawaiian Home Lands: DHHL, Aloha United Way Launch Beneficiary Rental Relief Program
A new program to provide rental relief for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) Applicant Waiting List beneficiaries launched today, in partnership with Aloha United Way (AUW). The program’s implementation was approved by the Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) at its April meeting. DHHL’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide eligible beneficiaries with rental assistance using $7 million in Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant funds. HHC Chairman William J. Ailā, Jr. said, “We started by implementing mortgage relief programs for existing homesteaders and now we are pleased to launch this initiative with AUW to help applicants on our Waiting List. Norm Baker, interim AUW President and CEO commented, “Through data we understand the native Hawaiian population is one of our most vulnerable. The funds from the DHHL rental relief program administered by AUW will prevent native Hawaiian families from slipping into homelessness. We estimate more than 2,500 households will be saved from eviction.” Eligible native Hawaiians on DHHL’s Applicant Waiting List who have experienced a loss of income or job as a result of COVID-19 may receive assistance for the payment of their security deposit and/or rent for up to six months. To apply for DHHL’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, call AUW at 2-1-1. Learn the latest about COVID-19 impacts on DHHL activities by visiting dhhl.hawaii.gov/covid-19.
* Department of Human Services: Emergency SNAP Supplement to Aid Households
DHS has received approval to provide three months of emergency SNAP supplements to address temporary food needs for SNAP households. This emergency SNAP supplement will bring all households up to the maximum benefit amount, based on household size, regardless of income. SNAP households who already received the maximum benefit amount will not receive an emergency supplement. There is no action needed from customers to receive these payments. Emergency supplements will be automatically issued to the SNAP household’s EBT card. To view how much you would now be getting based on your household size:https://humanservices.hawaii.gov/blog/emergency-snap-supplement-will-bring-households-the-maximum-benefit/
* Preschool Open Doors Program Deadline Extended to May 15th
Additional help is being offered for families in need of affordable preschool for the 2020-2021 school year. In response to the COVID-19 emergency, DHS is extending the deadline to submit applications until May 15, 2020 for the Preschool Open Doors program. DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot said, “During these challenging times, we will continue to serve our State with aloha. Together, we honor our commitment to supporting our collective community; individuals and families from keiki to kupuna.” Both the application period and funding are limited, so DHS is encouraging families to apply before that May 15 deadline. To qualify for the program, children must be eligible to enter kindergarten in the 2021-2022 DOE school year (born between August 1, 2015 and July 31, 2016). If awarded a subsidy, families may use any one of the 426 state-licensed preschools. DHS also gives priority to underserved or at-risk children. https://humanservices.hawaii.gov/blog/preschool-open-doors-program-deadline-extended-to-may-15-2020-amid-covid-19/

Dan Dennison
Lead Public Information Officer
Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center
(808) 354-4263

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