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Sunday, September 12, 2021
September 12, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:55 PM :: 4802 Views

Can the Hawaii SMART Health Card record your sexual performances and store them in a database?

Vacant Homes Tax?

Public input requested for new Maunakea Master Plan

Older patients could be denied treatment under Hawaii’s ‘crisis standards of care’ plan if COVID-19 cases continue to surge

SA: … Hawaii is not yet rationing health care, but patients 65 and older could be denied medical assistance under certain provisions of the state’s “crisis standards of care” plan if the current COVID-19 surge escalates….

The state Department of Health on Saturday reported 836 new COVID-19 infections and 12 deaths, with 404 people hospitalized with the virus.

If conditions worsen, Hawaii could find itself in the same situation as other states such as Idaho, where public health leaders last week enacted a “crisis standards of care” plan and are now rationing health care at the state’s northern hospitals.

It’s unclear exactly what a similar situation would look like here since Hawaii’s “crisis standards of care” plan has not been made public. However, a copy of the plan has caught the critical eye of senior advocacy groups such as AARP Hawaii….

An August 2020 version of Hawaii’s plan obtained by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser indicates that “if there are not enough resources to provide to all patients within a priority group, younger patients will be prioritized.”

“Age is used only in a tie-breaking situation,” the plan reads. “Evidence from multiple countries including the U.S. show that age (greater than 65 years old) is an indicator for poor prognosis in COVID-19 patients. If the triage score is equal between two individuals, the Triage Officer/Review Committee should use the consideration that a patient (greater than 65 years old) who is also COVID-positive is less likely to benefit from the scarce resource.”

DOH Director Dr. Elizabeth Char said in a statement to the Star-Advertiser that Hawaii’s Crisis Standards of Care Triage Allocation Framework is part of the state’s effort to plan for COVID-19 worst-case scenarios in the event there are not enough medical resources for everyone….

Lopez said AARP also is concerned that Ige’s legal immunity order also covered nursing homes, which she said should not be in the same triage situations as hospitals.

AARP said problems with infection control and mistakes at Hawaii’s nursing homes earlier in the pandemic also are a good reason to exclude them…. 

SA: Hawaii’s obsolete triage policy puts older patients at risk

PDF: Hawaii Crisis Standards of Care Triage Allocation Plan and FAQs

read … Older patients could be denied treatment under Hawaii’s ‘crisis standards of care’ plan if COVID-19 cases continue to surge

Biden’s Sweeping New Vaccination Mandate Is ‘Huge’ For Hawaii

CB: … President Biden’s new vaccine mandate for large employers is a “huge” step forward in Hawaii’s fight against the coronavirus, and likely will lead to vaccine requirements for more than 85% of the workforce here, according to an economist who surveyed local employers on the issue.

While the new federal mandate affects only large employers, a recent survey of Hawaii small businesses found that smaller employers are willing to adopt a mandate “once large businesses impose a mandate, or the government made it clear that this was legal,” said Ruben Juarez, a University of Hawaii-Manoa economics professor….

read … Biden’s Sweeping New Vaccination Mandate Is ‘Huge’ For Hawaii

With new COVID mandates on the way, some make the leap to get vaccinated

HNN: … In advance of widening vaccine or test mandates on indoor businesses going into effect, some Hawaii residents are choosing to get vaccinated to work.

Honolulu City Councilmember Radiant Cordero hosted a COVID vaccine and testing clinic at Farrington High School on Saturday.

She said about 30 people got their first dose and there were even more people the day before.

“I also want to note that yesterday on Farrington campus, we had 200 people choose to get vaccinated too,” said Cordero….

The councilwoman adds that over a hundred people came out to get tested.

“There were lines before we even opened so we had a good number,” said Dr. Hazel Abinsay.

Criselda Dela Cruz of Honolulu and Luis Timtimin of Kalihi said they got their first COVID shot for work.

“I don’t really feel like getting vaccinated today, but since I work at the restaurant, it’s like mandatory for us employees to get the vaccine,” said Dela Cruz. “So it’s like I’m forcing myself to do it.”…

“Because I wanted to get my CDL I guess and the personnel requires it,” said Timtimin….

“I don’t feel comfortable because I’ve been here for so long and then I never did get [the] flu shot,” said Dela Cruz.

“I’m just scared of needles, that’s it,” said TimTimin….

read … With new COVID mandates on the way, some make the leap to get vaccinated

Two Officers Quit Hawaii County PD Over Vaccination Mandate

HTH: … “I definitely think we will lose officers if they go to that model,” Hawaii Police Department Chief Paul Ferreira said, referring to Oahu’s vaccine mandate. “And just to be fully transparent about this, we have lost two officers who resigned over this, just because of the declaration and the testing.”

Ferreira said the officers who opted to turn in their badges are one with almost 10 years of service and another that’s been in the department less than two years.

According to Ferreira, about 71% of department employees have received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine, and about 65% are fully vaccinated. He said the numbers are similar among officers and civilian employees….

On Wednesday during the Fire Commission’s monthly meeting, Fire Chief Kazuo Todd said vaccination rates for the Hawaii County Fire Department are “a little over 70%.”

“I continue to advocate to get vaccinated,” Todd told commissioners. “I hate to say it, but it is not a medical issue for most people. It’s become a political ideology issue. And this isn’t necessarily about the rational conversations that we’re having about the logic behind why we should or shouldn’t do it. This has become kind of, like, ‘This is my God-given right, and I will not stand down.’

“I have had more than one personnel actually talking about leaving the department over this. It’s out there.”

Commissioner Gerald Kosaki, a retired battalion chief, mentioned “a firefighter from our department that’s right now in Queen’s (Medical Center on Oahu), fighting for his life, because he was unvaccinated.” Although Kosaki didn’t name the firefighter, he was referring to Keoki Lindsey of Waimea.

“As we know, the majority of the people in the hospital are unvaccinated. I don’t know. You’d think the responders, the majority of people would understand that,” Kosaki lamented.

“You would think so, and I agree with you 100%,” Todd responded. “The kind of rumors that are out there, the misinformation that is out there — and I hate to say it, but if you look for proof, you will find it, regardless of what you believe in. And the way a lot of social media algorithms work, once you start biting into something, it will not tell you anything contrary to your views. It will just take you farther down the rabbit hole.

“… That’s one of the reasons I’m having this conversation with our personnel face-to-face, because no memo that I put out, no mandate that I require is going to change opinions right away.”

Todd said he hopes the numbers will improve to about 90%….

read … Mayor, police and fire chiefs talk employee vaccinations

Honolulu first responders account for half of city workers seeking COVID-19 vaccine mandate exemptions

SA: … Police officers, firefighters, paramedics and ocean safety personnel account for 51% of city workers citing their health or religious faith as the reason they will test weekly for COVID-19 rather than comply with the city’s vaccination mandate — mirroring a national trend by first responders.

There are no vaccination statistics for all of America’s first responders, according to a review this month by The Associated Press, but individual police and fire departments are reporting figures far below the national vaccination rate of 74% of adults who have had at least one dose.

In Honolulu as of Tuesday, 255 police officers, 101 firefighters, 80 water safety workers and 23 emergency medical technicians and mobile emergency care specialists claimed that religion or a medical issue prevent them from accepting a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the city Department of Human Resources….

read … Honolulu first responders account for half of city workers seeking COVID-19 vaccine mandate exemptions

Former FTA Officials: What now for Honolulu’s rail project?

SA: … The Honolulu rail project has reached a point where completion of the project as originally planned no longer appears possible without another large infusion of local or state funding. Honolulu now faces a momentous decision on where to locate the terminus of a shorter rail project that may be in place for many years, possibly decades. The way that decision is reached will determine the confidence of local officials, and the trust of the public, that the modified project will be finished successfully.

We evaluated dozens of major transit projects during our careers in the Federal Transit Administration’s Office of Planning. Honolulu’s rail project clearly met the evaluation criteria set by Congress and, consequently, received a Full Funding Grant Agreement in 2012….

Escalating costs and schedule delays led the FTA to require a “recovery plan” for completion of the 20-mile project. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) prepared, and FTA accepted, a plan that in 2019 promised completion by 2026 at a total cost of $8.9 billion, with the additional funding coming from new local tax revenues.

Now, barely two years later, HART anticipates completion in 2031 at a total cost of $12.4 billion but with a $3.5 billion funding shortfall — a stunning revelation that threatens any remaining public faith in a useful project outcome.

Another “recovery plan” is clearly inappropriate for the decision at hand. The question is no longer, “How will we finish the 20-mile project?” but rather, “What shorter project makes most sense for our foreseeable future?”…

read … What now for Honolulu’s rail project?

Department of Education ‘See-no-evil’ vs Cry Wolf

Shapiro: … Plans for this school year were largely drawn by outgoing state schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, who was determined to open schools after last year’s shutdown left many students hopelessly behind, and inherited by her interim successor, Keith Hayashi, with little transition leadership from the Board of Education.

The result has been ever-changing rules with vague explanations.

While 6 feet was considered the safe separation for social distancing in the community, DOE reduced it to 3 feet in classrooms, arguing it was safe because students faced forward.

Now Hayashi says even 3 feet is “not practical” and is going unobserved in many schools.

With the delta variant surging in the community, there have been some 2,500 public school-related cases, but DOE administrators insist no clusters have fed infection in the broader community.

Department of Health cluster reports appear to support this, but the data isn’t specific enough to satisfy critics.

Shifting rules and sketchy numbers led the Hawaii State Teachers Association to file a grievance claiming unsafe working conditions.

The teachers have cried wolf so often that it’s strained their credibility, but this complaint raises some valid concerns.

“The department is taking a hear-no-evil, see-no-evil approach to so many things about the pandemic,” said HSTA President Osa Tui Jr. “They are not collecting data on lack of distancing or how many staff and students are isolating because of COVID-19. That way, they can continue to claim that there isn’t a problem.” …

KITV: Hilo teacher says schools need to be retrofitted to protect against COVID-19

read … Department of Education keeps squandering our hard-won pandemic lessons

As signs of life return to economy, Hawaii needs to be real about what’s sustaining revenues

Borreca: … Fears that Hawaii’s tourist-dependent economy cannot pull out of its catastrophic tailspin may have been overstated, but don’t think Hawaii is a money-generating powerhouse.

A year ago, we had an economy crashing as the tourists were shut out, the hotels were closing, the planes not flying and the restaurants curtailing sit-down dining.

Today there are signs of life.

Getting off the heart-and-lung machine does not mean Hawaii’s economy is out of rehab and ready to run the Ironman Triathlon, even if new numbers show that it can get up and go at a brisk pace….

read … As signs of life return to economy, Hawaii needs to be real about what’s sustaining revenues

Salary Database Tells Us About Legislative Retaliation on Auditor and Ethics Comm

CB: … A decade’s worth of records finds high turnover and a decrease in analysts at the Auditor’s Office, but relative stability at the Ethics Commission….

State Auditor Les Kondo, whose staff is usually turning up the heat on other agencies with its audits of their performance, has been under fire himself from a working group appointed by House Speaker Scott Saiki in January. Its report found (claimed) his office was producing insufficient and inadequate performance audits.

State Ethics Commission Director Dan Gluck, meanwhile, generated controversy after he was nominated by Gov. David Ige to become a judge on the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals. Gluck’s nomination was rejected by the state Senate after concerns were raised about the need for more diversity on the bench. Some critics also questioned whether he had sufficient trial experience (his race)….

News Civil Beat isn’t reporting: Ethics Commission to Replace Dan Gluck

read … What Civil Beat’s Salary Database Tells Us About The Embattled Auditor’s Office

TMT -- 82% of Subsystems in final phase

HTH: … While construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea has yet to begin, work on the project continues around the world.

TMT Project Manager Fengchuan Liu, who replaced previous manager Gordon Squires earlier this year, on Thursday made a presentation to the American Council of Engineering Companies of Hawaii, where he revealed that 82% of TMT’s key subsystems have reached their final design or fabrication phases.

read … TMT project manager makes presentation

Approval of Red Hill permit recommended despite risks

SA: … After months of deliberation, a hearing officer has recommended that the Navy get its state permit to operate underground fuel tanks at Red Hill, but said it should come with inspection and repair requirements after determining the tanks are a pollution risk to a major source of Oahu’s drinking water.

In a 99-page proposed decision and order in a contested case filed against the issuance of a Department of Health permit, hearing officer Lou Chang found the Navy had met design and construction standards for the tanks according to Hawaii law, although the tanks are not adequately inspected and a nearby aquifer’s drinking water supply “could be impacted in the future.”…

read … Approval of Red Hill permit recommended despite risks

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