State Temporarily Suspends Tuberculosis (TB) Clearance Requirements Due to Nationwide Shortage of Testing Solution

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is announcing the state’s temporary suspension of tuberculosis (TB) clearance requirements that are mandated in Hawaii Administrative Rules, Title 11, Chapter 164, for school personnel, students, food handlers, and workers in health care, domiciliary care, daycare, and residential care facilities. Beginning today, the state will not restrict attendance at work or school due to the absence of a TB clearance. The suspension is in response to a nationwide shortage of testing solution required for tuberculin skin testing.

Department of Health“With limited supplies of testing solution available due to nationwide production delays that began late last year, we anticipate people may have some difficulty getting tested for TB at this time,” said Dr. Richard Brostrom, TB Control Branch Chief. “TB clearance requirements will be suspended until further notice, and our state TB clinics will be limiting testing to specific high-risk groups to prioritize and extend current supplies.”

Because of the shortage of Tubersol® and Aplisol® purified protein derivative (PPD) solution, DOH is limiting TB testing available at state clinics to specific high-risk groups until further notice. These groups include:
• Persons with signs and symptoms of active TB disease
• Contacts exposed to an infectious case of TB
• High-risk immigrants referred from the Honolulu Quarantine Station
• Persons with immunodeficiencies
• Persons who require TB screening due to medical treatment

All other individuals seeking a TB clearance are advised to contact their private health care provider or health center.

DOH services related to the evaluation and treatment of persons suspected or confirmed to have active TB disease are not affected by the PPD shortage; these services will continue without change.

Manufacturers of the PPD have been experiencing delays in production since November 2012. It is estimated that adequate supplies of PPD solution will be available several months from now. DOH anticipates the temporary suspension of state TB clearance requirements may be in effect for up to 120 days or until the PPD shortage has ended. Public notice will be issued when the suspension is lifted and a grace period or catch-up date will be announced for individuals whose TB clearance was postponed to meet their requirement.

Hospitals and medical providers in Hawaii have received detailed recommendations from DOH on steps to take during the PPD shortage. For more information on tuberculosis or TB testing, the public may call the Hawaii TB Control Program at (808) 832-5731 or go to www.hawaii.gov/health/tb.

The DOH TB Control Branch provides effective prevention, detection, treatment, and educational services to reduce the incidence of TB in Hawaii. Program activities include diagnosis, treatment, case investigation, preventive therapy for persons at high risk, and direct testing services. Each year, DOH conducts roughly 50,000 tuberculosis skin tests, and provides treatment to approximately 120 individuals identified with TB.

 

 

Facial Recognition System Maintenance to Be Discussed During First Conference Committee Meeting at Hawaii Legislature

The conference meeting to negotiate differences in the state budget between the House and Senate was held a week earlier than normal to allow more discussion time for conference members and avoid the last minute rush to act on other fiscal bills.

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In his opening remarks today, Senate Ways and Means Chair, David Ige said, “This is an historic convening of the conference committee.  I cannot ever remember beginning this early in the session on the budget.  I would like to commend the House for its quick action and work in passing the budget over to the Senate early, and the Senate was inspired to do likewise.”

House Finance Chair, Sylvia Luke acknowledged the leadership of Senate President Donna Mercado Kim and House Speaker Joseph M. Souki “in making it possible for us to start the conference meetings early.”  Luke added, “Today we are not only ready to officially open conference meetings, we are ready to make significant decisions.”

Of the thousands of budget items facing the conference committee, two-thirds of them have already been agreed between what was contained in the House and Senate drafts of the budget.

Today, the chairs agreed to appropriate $100 million for fiscal Year (FY) 2014 and $117.4 million for FY2015 to begin payments on the unfunded liabilities.  Currently, the unfunded liabilities for the Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund is $13.6 billion.

“We believe that paying down the State’s unfunded liabilities must be a priority and can no longer be left to discretion,” said Senator Ige. “Additionally, this will put the State at the leading edge of national efforts to address this issue.”

Also today, the committee agreed on appropriating about $1.2 million each year to the Charter School Commission.  This appropriation would add 15 positions.

“We both agreed to fully fund the Charter School Commission to ensure that they do have the resources to conduct the audits, to establish the performance contracts, to really do the public’s business to ensure that the public charter schools are capable of providing quality educational services to our children,” said Representative Luke.

The two sides also resolved differences on four other items today.

  • An allocation of $1 million to sustain the Hawaii Health Information Exchange (HHIE) contract for FY14. The HHIE is a local non-profit organization designated by the State of Hawaii to build the statewide health information exchange, a secure electronic network that allows health care providers to transmit patient medical information more efficiently.
  • Protection against invasive species by providing $750,000 in each of the next two years for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council. These funds will support a wide variety of invasive species prevention, control, and outreach projects across the state.
  • $4.7 million over the next biennium for risk management ensuring the state is adequately protected against catastrophic losses.
  • $700,000 for FY14 for the State Library System to purchase additional books, e-books, and other circulatory materials statewide.

Additionally, Ige and Luke highlighted some of the other notable budget items upon which there was agreement in the House and Senate budget drafts.

  • $1.2 million in special funds over the next biennium to fund seven new positions, including environmental health specialists and engineers. These positions will monitor watershed and surface water quality, the state water reuse and green house gas program, air pollution control programs and the enforcement of clean water regulations.
  • Approval of $126,400 for two juvenile parole officer positions on the neighbor islands which will help keep youth with their families instead of requiring them to relocate to the Oahu Youth Facility.
  • $135,000 to fund three animal disease inspector positions that will assist in controlling livestock diseases.
  • An appropriation of $327,000 over the next two years for the Automated Fingerprint Identification System and Facial Recognition System maintenance. This will enable all county law enforcement agencies to keep their systems running 24-hours 7-days a week.
  • $100,000 in general funds and $225,000 in federal funds to upgrade 120 emergency sirens around the state.
  • Support for veteran services by providing $870,000 for the next two years for five new counselor positions, burial service support, special housing for disabled veterans, and program operations.
  • $456,000 each year in federal funds for domestic violence prevention and support services.
  • An increase in the special fund ceiling by over $700,000 for eight new food sanitation inspector positions to address an increasing number of food safety violations on Oahu.
  • Over $2.2 million for both years to restore 32 custodial positions for the maintenance and upkeep of Honolulu International Airport. As the first and last place that visitors will see during their trip, it is important to create a pleasant impression for all visitors to Hawaii.
  • Nearly $81 million in FY14 for the repair and maintenance of our state highways.

The conference committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow, Friday, April 12 in conference room 309 at 2:30 p.m.

Hawaii House Approves Gender Equity Amendment

Hawaii Island Representative Cindy Evans Successfully Amends Bill Relating to Boards and Commissions

The House of Representatives today approved SB858 which included an amendment to add a gender equity section . It was introduced by Representative Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala) and asks that appointing authorities for boards and commissions strive to achieve the goal of equal gender representation.

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The section reads:

“The governor or relevant appointing authority, as far as practicable, shall strive for the goal of equal gender representation when appointing members to boards and commissions and shall give priority to achieving the goal of gender equity when appointing members to vacancies, at-large positions, and as alternates.”

“The amendment is a policy statement requesting the appointing authority to strive to achieve gender equality, it is not a mandate.  While I realize that qualified individuals need to sit on boards and commissions the glaring discrepancies in the makeup of these boards and commissions need to also be recognized and addressed,” said Evans.

“Half of our State’s population is female and working.  Yet there exists great disparities on several boards and commissions responsible for overseeing our industries and institutions that play significant roles in Hawaii.  For example, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents has 12 male members and 3 females; The Hawaii Tourism authority has 10 males and 2 females; and the Land Use Commission has 8 males and 1 female.  We need to be mindful of under representation and strive to correct it where it occurs,” noted Evans.

Police Searching for Woman Wanted for Questioning in Connection with Robbery & Assault

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 25-year-old Kapaʻau woman wanted on a warrant and for questioning in an unrelated case.

Malia Rivera

Malia Rivera

Malia Rivera is wanted on a $10,000 bench warrant for violating probation in an abuse case. She is also wanted for questioning in connection with a robbery and assault investigation. She is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-5, 170 pounds with brown eyes and long brown hair.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Detective Sandor Finkey at 326-4646, extension 281, or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

 

Na Wahine o Ke Kai and Moloka‘i Hoe Announce They Will Join Forces for 2013 Race

Registration Open for 35TH Na Wahine O Ke Kai and 61st Moloka‘i Hoe

For the first-time in the history of both races, Na Wahine o Ke Kai and Moloka‘i Hoe race committees are joining forces on all aspects of race planning, including logistics and sponsorships.  It is the hope that this new direction will align resources and bring more support to both races.

Molokai Combo“We are happy to team up with the Moloka‘i Hoe, officially,” said Hannie Anderson, Race Director and co-founder of Na Wahine O Ke Kai.  “While we have always helped each other’s race over the years, we felt it important that we pull all our resources together so that we can leverage our strengths to put on the premier races for the sport of outrigger canoe racing in the world.”

Photos by Brooke Wilson

Photos by Brooke Wilson

For over 35 years, Na Wahine O Ke Kai has been organized by co-founders Anderson, Shelly Gilman, Haunani Campos-Olds, Carleen Ornellas, and Rosie Lum.  The Na Wahine O Ke Kai committee will team up with organizers from the O’ahu Canoe Racing Association (OCRA), who put on the men’s Moloka‘i Hoe.

“This coming together will allow us to streamline a lot of the logistics that go into planning such a large event,” said Stan Kaleiana‘ole Dickson, Moloka‘i Hoe race director.

Organizers anticipate more than 200 crews will compete in this year’s races, including clubs from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Guam, Tahiti and the continental United States.  Each year over 2000 paddlers from around the world compete in the Na Wahine O Ke Kai and Moloka‘i Hoe.

The course is a daunting 41-mile, non-stop race from the island of Moloka‘i to the island of O‘ahu, taking a crew of ten about 5-6 hours to complete.  Crew changes occur every 20-30 minutes in the open ocean, with paddlers in the canoe rolling over one side while the rested paddlers are climbing in the canoe from the other side.  Crews contending for the title must endure major training and preparation for months in order to complete the race.

Molokai 3
Of Polynesian origin, the canoes are about 45 feet long and weigh about 400 lbs.  Six paddlers sit evenly spaced the length of the canoe.  The canoe is very narrow, about 2 feet wide, and stabilized by an ama, a 10-foot long float which is connected to the canoe by two wooden struts called ‘iako.  It is this catamaran design that allows the canoes to venture into large open ocean swells.  While the sport of outrigger canoe racing originated in Hawai‘i, today it can be found all over world, with healthy participation from girls and boys and men and women of all ages.

Na Wahine O Ke Kai
Race Date:  September 22, 2013
Race Start:  8:00 a.m., Hale O Lono Harbor, Moloka‘i
Race End:  Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Waikiki (Fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa)

For additional info, registration, and pre-race activities, please visit www.nawahineokekai.com.

Moloka‘i Hoe
Race Date:  October 13, 2013
Race Start: 8:00 a.m., Hale O Lono Harbor, Moloka’i
Race End:  Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Waikiki (Fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa)

For additional info, registration, and pre-race activities, please visit the website, www.molokaihoe.com

ABOUT THE NA WAHINE O KE KAI
Hannie Anderson, Na Wahine O Ke Kai co-race founder and race director, dreamed of the day women would conquer the rough waters of the Kaiwi channel.  In 1954, then 17 years old, Anderson and two of her teammates from the Waikiki Surf Club hitched a ride on a boat from O‘ahu to Moloka‘i to watch their men’s team paddle in the Moloka‘i Hoe, a race across the Kaiwi channel open only to men.  Anderson’s coach was furious that the girls had found their way to Moloka‘i, but reluctantly allowed them to observe the race from the safety of the escort boat.  After six hours of observing their male counterparts, the girls were convinced that women were capable of making the crossing.  It wasn’t until 25 years later that Anderson and friends saw that dream come true with the creation of the first official women’s race on October 15, 1979.

Now in its 35th year, the Na Wahine O Ke Kai continues to be the premier competition for female outrigger canoe racing in the world.

ABOUT THE MOLOKA’I HOE
On October 12, 1952, three koa outrigger canoes launched through the surf at Kawakiu Bay on Moloka’i’s west side. Powered by six paddlers, each of the canoes was bound for Oʻahu across 38+ miles of open ocean in the Kaiwi Channel. Eight hours and 55 minutes later, the Molokaʻi canoe, Kukui O Lanikaula, landed on the beach at Waikiki in front of the Moana Hotel.  Thus began the world’s most prestigious outrigger canoe race, the Molokaʻi Hoe.

Registration is now being accepted online for the 2013 Na Wahine O Ke Kai and Moloka‘i Hoe open ocean outrigger canoe races.  Teams can access the race registration system at www.molokaihoe.com and www.nawahineokekai.com.

15-Year-Old California Boy Lucky to Be Alive After Falling Into Steaming Earth Crack at Volcanoes National Park

A 15-year-old San Rafael, CA boy who fell 25 feet into a steaming earth crack at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Wednesday night was pulled to safety by Park Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel.

Steam vent near Volcano House where the California boy fell. A nearby sign reads: Rain water encounters hot rock as it seeps into the ground, and rises as vapor through a system of cracks to condense in the chilled air. Vapor temperature four feet down is 160 degrees F, cooling to 120 degree F at the surface. NPS Photo.

Steam vent near Volcano House where the California boy fell. A nearby sign reads: Rain water encounters hot rock as it seeps into the ground, and rises as vapor through a system of cracks to condense in the chilled air. Vapor temperature four feet down is 160 degrees F, cooling to 120 degree F at the surface. NPS Photo.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park SAR team, and County of Hawai‘i Fire crews based in the park, responded to a 911 call from the victim’s mother at approximately 6:43 p.m. It was reported that the youth had attempted to leap over the protective railing surrounding a steam vent between Kīlauea Visitor Center and Volcano House.

Park SAR Coordinator John Broward, assisted by County Fire, rappelled into the deep, narrow, chimney-like crack and rescued the boy, who suffered a bump on his head and minor abrasions. His family declined further medical treatment, and he was released at the scene following assessment by County of Hawai‘i responders.

“This young visitor and his family are extraordinarily lucky that he survived this mishap,” Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando said. “This incident serves as a reminder that park visitors are urged to stay on trails and not engage in reckless behavior while visiting their national parks.”

Rescues like this also put park staff and other first responders at risk, Orlando noted.

This is the seventh SAR mission conducted by park staff so far this year. Last year, park SAR crews responded to a total of 26 incidents.

3.3 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Fern Forest Area of Big Island This Morning

earthquake

Magnitude 3.2  Upgraded to 3.3
Date-Time
Location 19.325°N, 155.122°W
Depth 8.7 km (5.4 miles)
Region ISLAND OF HAWAII, HAWAII
Distances
  • 16 km (10 miles) S (177°) from Fern Forest, HI
  • 18 km (11 miles) SE (139°) from Volcano, HI
  • 19 km (12 miles) S (185°) from Eden Roc, HI
  • 34 km (21 miles) SW (222°) from Hawaiian Beaches, HI
  • 42 km (26 miles) S (185°) from Hilo, HI
  • 358 km (222 miles) SE (128°) from Honolulu, HI
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.7 km (0.4 miles); depth +/- 0.4 km (0.2 miles)
Parameters Nph= 55, Dmin=4 km, Rmss=0.1 sec, Gp=137°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=2
Source
Event ID hv60488291