(BIVN) – There were no active cases of COVID-19 identified today on Hawaiʻi island. Only one newly identified case was reported statewide. An O‘ahu adult was recorded as the 653rd case of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i, health officials said, adding that the case “is still under investigation because the person had a household contact back in March. The person has no symptoms now,” the health department reported.
Governor Messages State Employees About Interisland Travel
In a message sent to all State of Hawai‘i employees today, Governor [David] Ige again reiterated that the lifting of the interisland 14-day quarantine on June 16 is because, “Over the past few weeks, we have seen significant progress in our fight against the COVID-19 crisis. With fewer than five cases every day and several days of zero new cases, Hawaiʻi continues to be among the states leading the nation in controlling the spread of the virus, thanks to your commitment to following our physical distancing and health mandates.”
The governor added, “Lifting the quarantine is great news, but the experience of flying between islands is going to be different than what we’re accustomed to. A new screening and tracking process will help us minimize any new spread and allow us to quickly respond if an outbreak occurs. This system includes thermal screening at the airport for everyone who travels between the islands. Also, travelers will be required to fill out a new travel form that will help the state track and respond to new cases.” Governor Ige said the next step will be reopening out-of-state travel, and planning is being done in earnest, through a careful, thoughtful process.
His message concluded, “Remember that the best way for us to control the virus is through our own actions. We all need to take personal responsibility. So please, take care of yourself, take care of each other, and most importantly, take care of our community.”
Telehealth Adoption Accelerated
The Hawai‘i Department of Health says it is accelerating telehealth adoption among community health centers statewide to provide care to vulnerable populations during current pandemic.
On Hawaiʻi island, telehealth funding has been provided to:
- Hamakua Health Center (Hawaiʻi Island)
- Kaʻu Rural Health Community Association, Inc. (a community-based nonprofit organization in Pahala on Hawai‘i Island)
The Hawaiʻi health department stated:
When COVID-19 and social distancing guidance required healthcare providers to rethink the way they delivered care, larger healthcare organizations were able to rapidly pivot to telehealth and keep pace with the rest of the nation. But Hawai‘i’s community health centers—federally qualified health centers—needed assistance in getting up to speed to serve the state’s most vulnerable populations. Patients who receive care at these centers pay for their care on a sliding scale discount, depending upon their household incomes. With a combined total of $670,000 from the Hawai‘i State Legislature and federal telehealth grant awards, the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH), in collaboration with the University of Hawaiʻi Area Health Education Center and Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center, has provided the necessary policy guidance and technical support for community health centers to take advantage of new federal telehealth reimbursement policies. This has included weekly webinars on the basics of telehealth for providers.
“It has been an intensely busy time and it has been amazing to see our community partners and healthcare providers come together at such a critical time to help Hawai‘i’s families access healthcare services from home,” said Laura Arcibal, the DOH telehealth and health care access coordinator. In addition to primary care, patients have been able to access behavioral health care services and COVID-19 screening via telehealth [here].
North Hawaiʻi Hospital Visitor Policy Changes
From Queen’s North Hawai’i Community Hospital:
Beginning Wednesday, June 3, the visitor policy at Queen’s North Hawai’i Community Hospital (QNHCH) will relax for both inpatients and outpatient clinic visits. Visitors were restricted earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We recognize how difficult the visitor restrictions were on our patients – having a loved one nearby is an important part of the healing process,” said Cindy Kamikawa, QNHCH president. “We feel that it is now safe to allow visitors, with certain restrictions, as part of a phased approach as we begin to re-open the hospital to visitors.”
Patients, both hospitalized and those coming for appointments or procedures, will be allowed to have one adult visitor or companion at a time. All visitors and companions will undergo screening, be required to wear a mask, and must be 18 years of age or older. Waiting rooms have been re-opened, however, because of physical distancing requirements, seating is limited. Visiting hours for hospitalized patients are 11 am to 7 pm. No visitors are allowed for suspected/confirmed COVID patients or infusion patients.
Passenger Arrivals By Air (Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority)
Yesterday, 1,538 people arrived in Hawaii. During this same time last year, nearly 30,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily, including residents and visitors. The state’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine started on March 26th for all passengers arriving in Hawaii from out of state. The quarantine order was expanded on April 1st to include interisland travelers. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday and does not include interisland travel. This data was collected from the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new Mandatory Travel Declaration Form.