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Saturday, September 12, 2020
September 12, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:23 PM :: 5443 Views

Lt Governor Josh Green Tests Positive for COVID

UH 'cuts will be significantly larger than Great Recession'

Ige Appoints Judge Karen Nakasone to ICA

COVID Count 131 new cases out of 5,360 tests   

Honolulu Council Chair Ikaika Anderson Already On Payroll Of Local Union

CB: … Outgoing Honolulu City Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson, who announced his resignation this week, hasn’t finished up his work at city hall but already has a new job.

Anderson has been hired by Local 630, the plasterers and cement masons union, and has been working there part-time since Sept. 1, he confirmed on Friday.

He said he didn’t disclose the new position on the day he shared the news of his retirement because the job isn’t why he’s leaving public service, “and I didn’t want people think that’s the reason why I left.” 

(Translation: That’s why I left and I was trying to keep it quiet.)

The chair said he is “not certain” when he is expected to start work with the union full time, but an audio recording of the union’s announcement to its members indicates that date is Sept. 23, Anderson’s final day on the council.

Asked about his new job title, Anderson said he didn’t have his business cards on him and wasn’t sure. He declined to discuss his new job duties.

“I’m not going to get into that right now,” he said.

According to the recording of the union meeting, Anderson will be doing “government work,” compliance work and attending “legislative” meetings….

Anderson said he won’t be doing any work that relates to the Honolulu City Council or Honolulu Hale. Doing so could violate a city ethics rule that prohibits elected officials from appearing before the public agency they used to serve within one year of leaving their post.

The city also has a rule against public officials accepting gifts in any form, including money or promises, that one could “reasonably” consider an attempt to influence the public official.

Anderson said he has done nothing to benefit Local 630 in his council capacity.

“No one affiliated, I believe, with Local 630 has ever even stepped foot in my office,” he said.

That’s not to say though that union issues never came across the council’s agenda. Earlier this year, for example, unions scored a big win at city hall with the passage of legislation sponsored by Councilman Joey Manahan that requires union labor on public works projects over $2 million. Anderson received testimony from many entities – including the Hawaii Construction Alliance, which represents Local 630 – and voted in favor of the bill….

(FUN FACT: Sept 23 is the day Honolulu Council will vote on controversial affordable housing project in Kailua.)

March 24, 2020: Corona Towers: Council Hides Behind Quarantine, Gives Development Deal to Convicted Felon

April 5, 2020: Full Text: Council Chair Cries a River After Being Busted Giving Development Deal to Convicted Felon

Sept 10, 2020: City Council Chair Ikaika Anderson resigns suddenly

read … Honolulu Council Chair Ikaika Anderson Already On Payroll Of Local Union

Senators Urge reinstatement of Health Department whistleblower

SA:  … A suspended Department of Health epidemiologist who exposed Hawaii’s lack of COVID-19 contact tracers likely saved lives and earned support from members of the state Senate Special Committee on COVID-19, who vowed Friday to rally to her defense.

Four senators took turns praising epidemiologist Jennifer Smith at the start of Friday’s COVID-19 hearing and agreed to write to Gov. David Ige urging him to reinstate her.

Smith’s paid suspension “sends a very bad message across this state that if you bring out or criticize what is going on, you’re going to be put on leave or lose your job,” said state Sen. Donna Kim (D, Kalihi Valley-Moana- lua-Halawa). “For her to be put on leave and for her to be threatened and so forth — because she did come out to tell us exactly what was going on — I think is a travesty at this point.” ….

State Sen. Michelle Kidani (D, Mililani-Waikele-Kunia) said that “if it wasn’t for Jennifer and her courage, we would still be having three-digit cases in the 300 numbers and higher. Who knows how many people would have succumbed to COVID-19?” ….

read … Health Department whistleblower receives gratitude, support from senators

Okutsu: 66 out of 72 Patients infected with COVID

HTH: … As of Friday afternoon, 66 of the veterans home’s 72 residents and 27 employees had tested positive for the coronavirus since late August. Of those, 17 residents and five employees have recovered, and 35 are being cared for in an isolated COVID-19 unit at the facility.

As of Friday, four were hospitalized at Hilo Medical Center, and 10 residents have died….

(Really Obvious Idea: Remove the six COVID-free patients from Okutsu before they get infected.)

read … ‘More help is on the way’: VA sends experts to help with outbreak at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home

Spy News: Oahu-based contact tracing phone app waiting to launch

MN: … An Oahu-based nonprofit with the help of a Maui surgeon has been developing an app to be used as an anonymous, voluntary self-reporting tool for residents and visitors during the pandemic.

The Planned Emergency Response System Engaging Unified Support app or “Perseus,” which has been built over the past five months in Waimanalo by Sustain Hawaii, is designed to enhance existing county and state testing and tracing protocols.

“This app is a comprehensive approach to safely reopening with many features, contact tracing being one of many,” executive director Kevin Vaccarello said Tuesday. “It’s like a Swiss Army Knife while most others are like plastic knives. It can help because it incorporates near real-time COVID-19 positive test results with time-stamped location data that the user voluntarily and anonymously chooses to share.”

Contact tracing is effective in slowing the spread of the virus only when COVID-positive people receive their test results quickly enough before unknowingly infecting others. Vaccarello said the app would efficiently notify people if they had potentially crossed paths with someone at a particular date, time, location and for a certain duration, based on information reported to the app. People can then take the proper steps to get tested or self-quarantine.

In the app, users can self-report their symptoms for an automated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention response, answering questions like “how are you feeling today?” or logging other useful information.

They then receive a notification every 24 hours and can take a few more seconds to provide an update. The user also is asked to turn on location services and push notifications. Unlike with Google Maps, Yelp, Waze, weather reports and other location-based apps, “the difference is we don’t receive the location data,” Vaccarello said….

Vaccarello said the app has several other functions, including contact tracing that would complement state efforts, telehealth features, test results updates, quarantine management and digital scanning for QR codes to determine if an individual can safely enter a plane, hotel, school, bank, store or restaurant. There are also smartcards, tags and other options for people who may not have smartphones.

Earlier this month, the state departments of health and transportation launched a Safe Travels app that essentially replaces the required travel form. Vaccarello said the Perseus app collects more information and has more functions within the platform….

Maui County Council Member Tamara Paltin introduced a resolution for Friday’s council meeting urging Mayor Michael Victorino to send a letter to Apple and Google to allow the release of the Hawaii-made voluntary contact tracing app….

Council members on Friday voted 5-3, with one excused, to approve the resolution, with some unsure of an app they’d yet to see and others saying it was worth asking the mayor to push for the app….

read … Oahu-based contact tracing phone app waiting to launch

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency director to lead new COVID-19 pandemic unit

KITV:  … "We did not have the requisite number of contact tracers or investigators that we were told we had sufficient numbers on, but we rapidly reorganized and looked at what the problem was," General Hara said.

And the problem was with the Department of Health -- the general was tasked to work with state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park, who oversaw infectious disease investigations and contact tracing. But he says he was met with resistance.
"I don't want to look back too much or point blame, right?" General Hara said. "I mean Dr. Park was an expert in her field and I still consider her an expert, but I did recommend a few times that hey, maybe we should get these people trained up and just leave them on the shelf and that when you need them, they're there, break glass in case of emergency."

And then the emergency came -- cases surged to the triple digits. The Hawaii National Guard sprung into action and General Hara says within a day, they were helping an overwhelmed Department of Health.

Now that Park is on leave and director Bruce Anderson is retiring, a new team and chain of command is in place. Emily Roberson is already building capacity as head of the disease investigation branch, and Dr. Libby Char will be interim health director beginning Sept. 16.

"We're going to separate that pandemic unit out from the core department of health, and they will be reporting directly up to me as incident commander," General Hara said. "So, what I used to always say is I used to ask DOH for stuff. Now I can actually task DOH for stuff and that'll make it a lot better."….

(Translation: DoH is infested with useless HGEA members and only the military can save us.)

read … Hawaii Emergency Management Agency director to lead new COVID-19 pandemic unit

Petition seeks easing of restrictions of Oahu’s solo activity rule for families

CB: … Within days after Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s announcement that beaches, parks and hiking trails would reopen Thursday, but be restricted to solo activity only, a public backlash has ensued over the requirement.

Shannon Yarber of Waimanalo launched an online petition, “Give Children and Families Access to Beaches, Parks and Trails in Hawaii,” requesting the order be amended to allow immediate families to go to beaches, parks and trails together.

As of noon today, more than 3,500 had signed the petition urging the mayor to ease the restrictions ….

read … Petition seeks easing of restrictions of Oahu’s solo activity rule for families

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