(BIVN) – On Saturday at noon, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health reported 3 newly identified cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide cumulative total to 631.
The number of cases on Hawaiʻi island went up by one (to 75) as a result of “updated information and data cleaning”, which re-categorized one case originally counted in Honolulu to the Big Island total.
“72 have been cleared as recovered with the remaining 2 quarantined at home and monitored by the Department of Health,” Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense reported this morning, which reported the total number of cases as 74. “At this date, for Hawaii Island, no one is hospitalized.”
Of the 631 total cases statewide, 551 have been released from isolation the State says. The number is down from the 566 reported yesterday, because the state has decided to remove from the total the number of individuals who have died (17) and the one case that left the jurisdiction.
“Hawaii Island and State are doing very well in minimizing the spread and impact of the coronavirus,” Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim said in his Saturday message. “We need to continue to follow the policies of distancing, gatherings, face coverings, cleanliness, and keeping yourself physically and emotionally healthy as best as you can. Look out for each other. Be well and please wear your mask.”
$5.2 Million For Food Delivery To Families In Need
Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaiʻi) announced on Friday that farmers and distributors in Hawaiʻi will receive $5.2 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide food to families in need.
The funding is part of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) that Congress established in the second coronavirus relief legislation that passed the Senate in March, Hirono says.
“Like so many places across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic is driving unprecedented demand for food assistance in Hawaii. The harrowing images we’ve seen of families lining up for hours to receive food demonstrate the urgency to direct more federal resources to assist those in need,” Senator Hirono said. “This funding, provided through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, will facilitate the delivery of assistance to food banks and other social service organizations across our state. It will also support the ongoing efforts of our farmers and distributors who have worked hard to adapt to feed individuals and families in our community. I will continue to advocate for this program and other crucial initiatives to assist Hawaii families in need.”
The Hawaii-based companies receiving funding under this program include:
- Aina Hookupu O Kilauea ($468,000)
- Ham Produce and Seafood Inc. ($3,584,000)
- Hawaii Foodservice Alliance ($313,500)
- Malama Kauai ($235,200)
- Suisan Company Limited ($621,813)
According to Sen. Hirono:
The Farmers to Families Food Box Program, a component of the USDA CFAP, is aimed at supporting farmers and ranchers through the purchase of excess commodities while replenishing supplies for over-extended food banks and organizations throughout the country. Through the program, national, regional, and local suppliers partner with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat products.
Suppliers in the program will package these products into family-sized boxes and transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits that distribute food to Americans in need, with deliveries beginning on May 15, 2020 and running through June 30, 2020.
Hawaiʻi Tops In Nation For COVID-19 Response / Testing
According to the Hawaiʻi Joint Information Center:
With Hawai‘i’s economic recovery starting with the phased reopening of select businesses and industries today and next week across the islands, a nationwide study by a prominent Harvard University research group shows the state rates tops or near the top in COVID-19 testing metrics.
“It’s encouraging to hear that Hawai‘i is leading many states in our testing for COVID-19,” said Governor David Ige. “So far, our preventive actions have kept our number of positive cases and deaths low, and we must all continue to be vigilant to maintain our control of the disease. We can’t become complacent and risk undermining our success.”
This week, Harvard’s Global Health Institute published a state-by-state simulation that estimates the amount of coronavirus testing that will be needed by May 15. The institute started from a model of future case counts and then calculated how much testing would be needed for a state to test all infected people and any close contacts they may have exposed to the virus.
The study was conducted in partnership with National Public Radio (NPR). In an interview with NPR, institute director Ashish Jha said, “Testing is outbreak control 101, because what testing lets you do is figure out who’s infected and who’s not…that lets you separate out the infected people from the noninfected people and bring the disease under control.”
To make their state-by-state estimates, the Harvard Global Health Institute group started from a model of future case counts. It calculated how much testing would be needed for a state to test all infected people and any close contacts they may have exposed to the virus. (The simulation estimates testing 10 contacts on average).
NPR reports that only nine (9) states have exceeded testing minimums estimated by Harvard and are mostly lower population states: Alaska, Hawai‘i, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The model suggests that Hawai‘i’s first pandemic wave of COVID-19 is “mild” relative to the state’s population and falls well below the 10 percent threshold advised by WHO. In the testing vs. target category, Hawai‘i is averaging 797 tests each day, more than the estimated minimum tests recommended by May 15. In the positive test ratio category, only 0.3% percent of tests in Hawai‘i have come back positive; much lower than the WHO recommended rate of 10 percent or lower. Only Montana has a better positive test ratio of 0.1%.