(BIVN) – There were 54 newly reported cases of COVID-19 in the State of Hawaiʻi on Friday. Of that number, four (4) cases were identified on the Big Island.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Health says there have been 31 cases of COVID-19 reported on Hawaiʻi island in the past 14 days.
Hawaiʻi County has seen an average 0.5% test positivity rate over the last 14 days, with an average of three new cases per day.
From the Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense:
The Hawaii Department of Health reports four (4) new case of Coronavirus with One (1) person hospitalized on Hawaii Island. There have been no deaths reported in the last nine weeks.
The Department of Health will start to open vaccine registration to those 70 and older beginning on Monday, March 8. Medical facilities and pharmacies on Hawaii Island will continue to offer vaccine registration to individuals who are 75 and older. Even as the case numbers remain low, and more of our community get vaccinated, the risk of infection remains. We urge you to continue to follow the preventative policies of wearing masks, keeping distance, and limiting gatherings to 10 persons. Mahalo for your kokua.
The Department of Health continues to coordinate vaccination points of distribution around the Island. For a list of all the facilities providing vaccinations visit the Civil Defense website.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Health reports there has been 391,116 cumulative doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in the State of Hawaiʻi, an increase of 10,806 from the previous day.
UH Campuses Encouraged To ‘Get Vaccinated UH!’
From the University of Hawaiʻi:
The University of Hawaiʻi is encouraging students, faculty and staff of the 10-campus system to “Get Vaccinated UH!” The awareness campaign includes regular messaging and testimonials on social media, as well as campus signage featuring students, faculty, researchers, staff and UH leadership. UH community members are urging their peers to get vaccinated for their campus and community, and encouraging them that we can beat COVID-19 together.
“Widespread vaccination is the best way to end the COVID-19 pandemic and allow us to safely reopen our campuses with more in-person instruction and on-campus activities,” said UH President David Lassner in a Friday, March 5 message to the 10-campus system. “Recognizing the importance of higher education, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health has categorized UH employees as essential workers, which should enable our employees, who are willing, to be vaccinated well before the start of the fall 2021 semester.”
More than 5,000 UH employees received their first dose by the end of February, and many of them have received their second and final dose. Just about every employee, including student employees, who expressed willingness to be vaccinated should be contacted to schedule their first dose appointment by mid-March.
There is positive news for UH students, who fall in the Phase 2 group, the last population group scheduled to receive the vaccine.
“The approval of a third vaccine for use in the U.S., along with a new manufacturing agreement to boost production, prompted President Biden to announce this week that there will be enough supply to vaccinate the entire adult population of our country by the end of May,” said Lassner.
The “Get Vaccinated UH!” campaign is a call to action and not meant to single out those who may choose to not get vaccinated.
“We also ask that you be mindful and respectful of those in our community who may have preexisting or underlying health conditions that may prevent them from getting vaccinated, and others who may have concerns about vaccines and vaccination,” said Lassner.
The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory, and vaccination status is considered sensitive health information. No one should be forced to disclose their vaccination decision or status by their supervisors, coworkers, instructors or fellow students. Anyone who has questions about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine can find more information on the state health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.
“In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended our lives. Now, we have a chance to help bring the pandemic to an end and return to some semblance of normalcy,” said Lassner. “There is much to be hopeful about in the coming months. We can beat COVID-19 together. Get Vaccinated UH!”
State Expands Mental Health Assistance
From the Hawaiʻi Department of Health:
The Hawai‘i Department of Health, in collaboration with CARE Hawaii, launched a new crisis counseling assistance program to provide support for children and adults experiencing challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The expansion was made possible by a $2.1 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The new program, called “Kū Makani – The Hawai’i Resiliency Project,” offers counseling, education, information, and resource navigation while promoting healthy coping, empowerment, and resilience. The phrase ‘a‘ali‘i kū makani refers to the ‘a‘ali‘i plant which grows even in strong winds, reflecting the spirit of resilience and thriving under challenging circumstances.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has touched everyone in the islands, from keiki to kūpuna,” said Amy Curtis, Adult Mental Health Division Administrator. “We are pleased to be able to provide yet another resource to help those of us who need some extra support right now.”
Residents can access “Kū Makani” by calling Hawai‘i CARES 1-800-753-6879 and selecting option #1 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and state holidays, and 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Services are available for children, teenagers, and adults. Trained crisis counselors are located on each major island, including staff bilingual in Ilokano, Spanish, Hawaiian, Tongan, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Japanese, Palauan, and Samoan.
“It is normal to experience difficulty with adapting to the new challenges of managing work, school, family, or home due to COVID-19, to feel isolated or anxious, or to worry about meeting basic needs like having enough food or access to healthcare,” said Kathleen Merriam, Team Leader for Kū Makani. “If you or someone you love needs support, don’t be afraid to reach out.”
For general crisis support services not specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, including mental health resources, substance use treatment services, or help with isolation and quarantine, call Hawai‘i CARES 24 hours a day, 7 days per week at 1(800)753-6879 or text ‘ALOHA’ to 741741.