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Saturday, August 15, 2020
August 15, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:05 PM :: 2442 Views

Hawaiian Burials Dug up to Make Way for Obama’s Oceanfront Septic Tank

Lockdown reveals Hawaii's economic house of cards

Survey update shows widespread hardship for local businesses

Chief Justice Seeks Public Comment on Judicial Nominees

Ige Seeks Public Comment on Nominees to Intermediate Court of Appeals

COVID Count: 233 new cases out of 2,649 tests

Iwilei homeless shelter to be temporary isolation and quarantine site

Recovered from COVID? Hawaii Blood Bank Needs You

Whistleblower – DOH has only 9 Contact Tracers  

HNN: … A Health Department whistleblower who helped to expose the agency’s failed efforts to conduct contact tracing for COVID-19 cases said she experienced panic attacks as she struggled to respond to the growing number of cases she was tasked with.

Dr. Jennifer Smith, an epidemiologist, is one of nine investigators at the Department of Health. She spoke publicly for the first Friday at a news conference called by U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Smith said investigators at the Health Department are “struggling to keep up.”

Hawaii News Now has learned that all new COVID-19 cases must go through just nine disease investigators — like Smith — and they must contact every person who has been confirmed positive.

Last week, an unannounced visit to the state Health Department by state senators revealed an agency overwhelmed by a surging number of cases and unable to follow up with all those infected.

The lawmakers spoke to investigators who were handling up to 200 cases each.

“I sat there on a Tuesday, I had 22 cases in my cue. Then on Wednesday afternoon, I was up to 47 and Thursday as I watch the numbers tick 56, 57, 58, 59 I got so overwhelmed and panicked,” Smith said.

“I had a panic attack. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know what to do."

Smith said the investigators are not full-time contact tracers. They have other duties and so many can’t handle more than three new cases a day.….

SA: U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard calls contact tracing numbers ‘a lie’

KITV: Whistleblower claims state health officials are lying about contact tracing program

KHON: Whistleblower says DOH lying about number of contact tracers

read … Whistleblower describes a Health Department ‘struggling to keep up’

“Each day a pre-arrival testing program is delayed creates significant economic damage to our state”

SA: … “With the case count increasing the way it has, it would be very difficult to implement and start the pre-travel testing program on Sept. 1,” Ige said during a Thursday press briefing.“But we have not made that decision. We do want to see another few days of data to see what the impact of the increased restrictions have been on Oahu.”

Heightened uncertainty already has prompted some members of Hawaii’s visitor industry to delay their own reopening plans, with the expectation that Hawaii’s tourism lockdown might extend to at least October and maybe longer.

Rumors of a new delay started circulating about a week ago when the state reinstated various restrictions aimed at improving social distancing. On Tuesday, Ige also restarted a partial mandatory 14-day interisland self-quarantine for those arriving to the counties of Kauai, Hawaii island, Maui and Kalawao.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green confirmed some of the industry’s worst fears Tuesday when he said it was unlikely that a pre-arrivals testing program could start before Oct. 1 unless the COVID-19 surge was contained….  (Don’t worry we have 9 HGEA members tracing COVID.)

Hawaiian Airlines, the state’s largest carrier, already has reduced flying within the islands by 42% for the second half of August. Effective Sept. 1, it’s also scaling back daily services between Honolulu and Sacramento to three times weekly and between Honolulu and Portland to five times weekly.

“Each day a pre-arrival testing program is delayed creates significant economic damage to our state, Hawaiian Airlines and other Hawaii companies that directly or indirectly depend on air travel and tourism to stay in business and keep workers employed,” said Hawaiian spokesman Alex Da Silva….

MN: Big-brand hotels roll out pandemic safety plans

read … Hawaii’s visitor industry braces for another pre-arrivals testing delay

State issued orders 5 times this week to keep homeless COVID-19 patients in quarantine

HNN: … A state Department of Health quarantine order that was rarely issued before the pandemic was used five times this week after residents of the Institute for Human Services men’s shelter either skipped out on isolation — or were deemed high risk to do so.

Yellow caution tape now lines perimeter of the homeless shelter on Sumner Street after 30 residents tested positive for COVID-19.

On Friday morning, members of the Community Mobile Response Team assisted in testing all 68 people currently being quarantined inside the facility….

read … State issued orders 5 times this week to keep homeless COVID-19 patients in quarantine

Hawaii Supreme Court Mulls New Release Of Inmates

CB: … Deputy Public Defender Susan Arnett asked the court to authorize the release of minor offenders even if they test positive for COVID-19, and suggested the state Department of Health can find housing for ill inmates in vacant hotels or at other sites. (How about the Hilton.)

Arnett said court reviews of each individual case — which was the process used for the expedited releases last spring — will take too long. She said the process used last time is “too cumbersome and time consuming” given the immediate risk of new infections….

The filing also asks the court to require that the Hawaii Paroling Authority begin processing requests for early parole for sentenced felons…

Acting City Prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto countered that any inmate who tests positive for the virus or is waiting for test results should not be released, and the cases of inmates who test negative should be considered individually before they are released no matter what the charges were that landed them in jail.

“This is because their full criminal history must be vetted so we can ensure that we are not releasing somebody dangerous into the community,” he said. Nadamoto also argued that the inmates should have a verified residence before they can be released, because homelessness may set them up to re-offend….

He said the Honolulu police reported they re-arrested about 130 of the inmates who were released under the expedited process in the spring, but acknowledged under questioning by Associate Justice Sabrina McKenna that some of those arrests were for technical violations of the conditions of release, rather than for new crimes….

(IQ Test: Are you impressed by this distinction?)

A filing with the court by Connors says that the state is “amenable to releases of inmates from OCCC so long as the releases are based on individualized determinations of the impacts on public health and safety, and the health and safety of the inmates themselves.”  

(Translation: Already capitulated.)

Hopeful for COVID Release: Alleged gang leader’s termite treatment company still advertising

read … Hawaii Supreme Court Mulls New Release Of Inmates

OCCC inmates with coronavirus rise to 124 with many more still not tested

SA: … The number of Oahu Community Correctional Center inmates testing positive for COVID-19 has climbed to 124, up by 38 from the count that the Department of Public Safety gave only Thursday night.

There are currently 968 inmates at the Kalihi jail, so 12.8% of the total population has now tested positive, even though results have been made available for only 2.5 of 19 OCCC modules have completed testing….

Relatives: Correctional officers, inmates don’t have access to adequate protective equipment 

HPD: 33 officers are in quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19

read … OCCC inmates with coronavirus rise to 124 with many more still not tested

Maui Jail Memos Show Newly Admitted Inmates Are Isolated For Only 5 Days

CB: … Espinda acknowledged at a press conference Thursday that corrections workers in some cases cut short what was supposed to be a 14-day quarantine for inmates when they were first admitted to OCCC.

That quarantine is intended to last for the two-week incubation period for COVID-19 to prevent the spread of the virus inside the facility, but Espinda said overcrowding in the unit where OCCC prisoners were isolated after they first arrived prompted jail staff to move some prisoners out into the general population early….

(Create a crisis to exploit it: Soft-on-crime crowd obstructs Puunene Jail project for nearly 20 years.  As a result, overcrowding and crisis which they then exploit to force jail releases.)

MN: Mayor Advised of Cleaning at MCCC as COVID-19 Precaution

read … Maui Jail Memos Show Newly Admitted Inmates Are Isolated For Only 5 Days

Post Office warns Hawaii and 45 other states about mail voting delays

AP: …The U.S. Postal Service has warned Hawaii, 45 other states and the District of Columbia it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted….

read … Post Office warns Hawaii and 45 other states about mail voting delays

Hawaii Governor Seeking Details on Trump's Unemployment Plan

AP: … Hawaii's governor says he wants to know whether the federal government would fully pay for $300 in weekly supplemental unemployment benefits President Donald Trump announced under an executive order last weekend, or whether the state would wind up having to foot the bill if it participated in the program….

read … Hawaii Governor Seeking Details on Trump's Unemployment Plan

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