Big Island Restaurant Linked to Hepatitis A Outbreak – Confirmed Cases at 93

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed a new case of hepatitis A infection in a food service employee on Hawaii Island.

The employee has a history of exposure on Oahu and worked at the fast food and catering restaurant, Sushi Shiono Waikoloa, located in the Waikoloa Beach Resort, Queen’s MarketPlace at 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive, from July 5 through July 21, 2016 (actual dates: July 5-8, 11-15, and 18-21).

Waikoloa SushiThe department is advising persons who consumed any food products from this store during this period that they may have been exposed to the disease.

The likelihood that patrons of this business will become infected is very low. However, as a precaution, unvaccinated individuals should contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin, which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within the first two weeks after exposure.

Since the outbreak began in mid-June, there have been 93 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, 29 of which have required hospitalization. All cases have been in adults who were on Oahu during their exposure periods. DOH continues to investigate and is working to identify the source of infection for this outbreak.

“Preventing exposure from infected food handlers is difficult because patients with hepatitis A are most contagious one to two weeks before symptoms start,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.“ It is possible that other food service establishments will be affected with additional new cases.”

Affected food service establishments who are unable to notify their customers directly are listed on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/. These businesses are not sources of this outbreak. At this time, no infections have been linked to exposure at these businesses; the list is provided to prevent possible new cases. Hawaii State law requires all unvaccinated food handlers (persons who directly prepare, serve, or handle food) who are contacts of confirmed cases be tested for infection and have a negative hepatitis A IgM test before returning to work. A “contact” with the case is defined as unvaccinated household members, unvaccinated sexual contacts, anyone sharing illicit drugs with a case, anyone sharing food or eating or drinking utensils with a case, anyone consuming ready-to-eat foods prepared by an infectious food handler with diarrhea or poor hygiene.

Once an infected food handler has been identified, DOH staff coordinate directly with the owners and managers of the affected food service establishments to ensure their employees are tested before resuming their work.

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes.

Individuals, including food service employees, exhibiting symptoms of hepatitis A should stay home and contact their healthcare provider.While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

Additional information about hepatitis A can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.

For a statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

22 New Cases of Hepatitis A – Oahu Outbreak Up to 74 Cases

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) is investigating a cluster of hepatitis A infections on Oahu.  HDOH staff are conducting interviews with the cases in an effort to identify the source of infection.

Department of Health

Identifying the source of infection continues to be a challenge because of the long incubation period of the disease and the difficulty patients have in accurately recalling the foods consumed and locations visited during the period when infection could have taken place.

Healthcare providers have been informed and are asked to notify HDOH immediately if they have a patient they suspect may be infected.

Individuals who are interested in being vaccinated should contact their healthcare providers.

As of July 20, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 22 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 26 have required hospitalization.

All of the cases are residents of Oahu with the exception of two individuals who now live on the islands of Hawaii and Maui, respectively, but were on Oahu during their exposure period.

CONFIRMED CASES OF HEPATITIS A
74

Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 7/14/16.

Contacts of Cases

Unvaccinated contacts of cases should talk to their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin, which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within the first two weeks after exposure.

A contact is defined as:

  • All unvaccinated household members
  • All unvaccinated sexual contacts
  • Anyone sharing illicit drugs with a case
  • Anyone sharing food or eating or drinking utensils with a case
  • Anyone consuming ready-to-eat foods prepared by an infectious food handler with diarrhea or poor hygiene

Note: A food handler is any person who directly prepares, serves, or handles food.

Places of Interest

An employee of the following food service business(es) has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. This list does not indicate these businesses are sources of this outbreak; at this time, no infections have been linked to exposure to these businesses. The likelihood that patrons of these businesses will become infected is very low. However, persons who have consumed food or drink products from these businesses during the identified dates of service should contact their healthcare provider for advice and possible preventive care.

Establishment Location Dates of Service
Baskin-Robbins Waikele Center June 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 27, 30, and July 1 and 3, 2016
Taco Bell Waipio (94-790 Ukee Street) June 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, and July 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 11, 2016

Hepatitis A — Information and Resources

Hawaii Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto of SB 2077

The State House and Senate today voted to override Gov. David Ige’s veto of SB 2077 to preserve the management transfer of three state run Maui hospitals to Kaiser Permanente.

The bill, now a state law, authorizes severance benefits or early retirement incentives for employees who would be directly affected by the impending privatization of state hospital operations on Maui and Lanai.

Last year state lawmakers authorized the privatization of Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital & Clinic and Lanai Community Hospital, and the state reached an agreement in January, 2016 to have Kaiser Permanente operate all three.

Lawmakers were concerned that if they did not override the veto, the transfer would be in jeopardy along with the health and safety of Maui residents and visitors.

The hospital transfer would be the largest privatization of public facilities in state history, and Gov. Ige has predicted it will save the state $260 million in hospital subsidies over the next decade.

Veto Votes

The House with 43 votes… voted to override the Governors veto of SB2077. It is now law. Photo via Senator Kahele Facebook page.

Early Bird Discounts Available for 26th Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference

The 26th Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference is September 30-October 7, starting at the Kauai Beach Resort and then traveling to Oahu, Molokai, Hilo and Kona for mini-conferences. All attendees registering before August 1 enjoy a discounted fee of $50; visit HTFG.org to register online with paypal; conference and membership forms can also be found on the website.

htfg 2016Geared to farmers, educators, orchard managers and proponents of sustainable agriculture, the eight-day event is presented by the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) and open to the public.

The conference is titled “Achieving Critical Mass” and offers a lineup of visiting researchers and agro experts sharing information and breakout sessions on a variety of topics. They include Dr. John Yonemoto on “Growing and Harvesting the Best Avocados!” and “Increasing Production,” Diane Ragone on “Ulu,” Robert Paull on “Harvest and Post-Harvest” and Peter Follett on “Market Access: Getting Fruit Approved and Shipped Out of State.”

HTFG Executive Director Ken Love says Kauai activities include USDA and NASS updates, a report and survey on specialty crops, Sunday tours with Scott Sloan of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, networking and fruit tasting.

Registration forms and fee schedule are available at www.HTFG.org or by contacting Love at kenlove@hawaiiantel.net or Mark Suiso at suiso@aloha.net.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers: Marking its 27th year, HTFG was incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii. It is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; www.HTFG.org.

Hepatitis A Infection in Taco Bell Employee

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed a new case of hepatitis A infection in a food service employee. The employee worked at the fast food restaurant, Taco Bell, located in Waipio at 94-790 Ukee Street.

94-790 Ukee Street, Waipio, HI

94-790 Ukee Street, Waipio, HI

The department is advising persons who consumed any food or drink products from this store from June 16 through July 11, 2016 (actual dates: June 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, and July 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 11) that they may have been exposed to the disease.

Unvaccinated individuals should contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin, which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within the first two weeks after exposure.

“It is important to note that neither the Waikele Baskin-Robbins nor the Waipio Taco Bell have been identified as the source of infection for this outbreak,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “These are merely places where the victims were employed. The likelihood that patrons of these food establishments will become infected is very low, but to prevent possible additional cases, we are notifying the public so they may seek advice and help from their healthcare providers.”

Additional food service establishments may be affected as the number of cases continues to grow. Individuals, including food service employees, exhibiting symptoms of hepatitis A should stay home and contact their healthcare provider. All food service employees should strictly adhere to good handwashing and food handling practices.

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes.

While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

Additional information about hepatitis A can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.

For a list of vaccinating pharmacies, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1

Hawaii Wildlife Center Recent Cases

The Hawaii Wildlife Center listed the following birds that had been cared for in their most recent Wildlife Hospital Update.
tiny bird
Recent Cases:

  • Ua‘u kani (Wedge-tailed Shearwater) from O‘ahu – Case notes: downed
  • Koa‘e ‘ula (Red-tailed Tropicbird) from O‘ahu – Case notes: downed
  • Pueo (Hawaiian Owl) from Hawai‘i Island – Case notes: Suspected rodenticide poisoning
  • Ae‘o (Hawaiian Stilt) from O‘ahu – Case notes: orphaned chick
  • ‘Ewa‘ewa (Sooty Tern) from O‘ahu – Case notes: found struggling in the water
  • Koa‘e ‘ula (Red-tailed Tropicbird) from Kona, Hawai‘i Island – Case notes: Found offshore and could not fly
  • Least Tern from Kona, Hawai‘i Island – Case notes: poor feather condition, required decontamination
  • 2 ‘Auku‘u (Black-crowned Night-Heron) from ‘Oahu – Case notes: Suspected siblings, orphaned
  • ‘Io (Hawaiian Hawk) from Hawai‘i Island – Case notes: Young chick with infected crop
  • ‘Alae ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian Coot) from Hawai‘i Island – Case notes: Wing injury Pueo (Hawaiian Owl) from Hawai‘i Island – Case notes: Found downed
  • Pueo (Hawaiian Owl) from Maui – Case notes: Injured wing

Recent Releases

  • 2 ‘Auku‘u (Black-crowned Night-Heron) from O‘ahu
  • ‘Auku‘u (Black-crowned Night-Heron) from Hawai‘i Island
  • Least Tern from Hawai‘i Island
  • Pueo from Hawai‘i Island

Hawaii House and Senate Meet in Special Session to Amend Maui Hospital Workers Bill

The House and Senate met today in special session following Gov. David Ige’s veto of SB2077.

Click to see bill

Click to see bill

The bill provides state benefits to workers facing position abolishment, reduction-in-forces or workforce restructuring as the state moves forward with an agreement to have Kaiser Permanente assume control of operations at Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital.

Legislative leaders said they will not move to override the governor’s veto, but will work with him to fashion a bill that will protect the health, safety and welfare of Maui residents and ensure a smooth transition from public to private management of Maui hospitals.

The legislature will be in recess until Monday morning when it will reconvene at 11 a.m. to take up amendments to the bill. The recess will also give time for the governor to negotiate a settlement with the UPW in its lawsuit objecting to the transition.

A final vote on the amended bill is expected on Wednesday, July 20.

Hepatitis A Infection in Oahu Baskin-Robbins Employee – 52 Cases Now Reported

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is investigating a confirmed case of hepatitis A in a food service employee at the ice cream specialty store, Baskin-Robbins, located at the Waikele Center in Waipahu. The department is advising persons who consumed any food or drink products from this store between June 17 and July 3, 2016 (actual dates: June 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 27, 30, and July 1 and 3) they may have been exposed to the disease.
Baskin Robbins
Unvaccinated individuals should contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin, which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within the first two weeks after exposure.

This individual is one in a growing number of ill reported to DOH. Since the outbreak began, there have been 52 cases of hepatitis A reported to and now confirmed by DOH. All cases have been in adults on Oahu, 16 have required hospitalization. The department issued a Medical Advisory to all healthcare providers on June 30 urging them to be vigilant and report all suspected hepatitis A infection immediately.

“The source of this outbreak has still not been determined. In the meantime, we encourage all persons consider and talk to their healthcare provider about getting vaccinated,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “This case demonstrates the potential to spread hepatitis A virus to many others who remain susceptible. In an effort to stem the spread of disease, individuals, including food service employees, exhibiting symptoms of hepatitis A infection should stay home and contact their healthcare provider.”

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes, and typically last several weeks to as long as two months. Treatment of hepatitis A is supportive, and most people will recover without complications.

While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

Hepatitis A vaccine is readily available at local pharmacies. Two doses of hepatitis A vaccine, given at least six (6) months apart, are needed for lasting protection. For a list of vaccinating pharmacies, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Additional information about hepatitis A can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/hepatitis-a/.

Hawaii Governor Signs HB 2707 Pertaining to Marijuana Dispensaries

Governor Ige and other government officials had a bill signing ceremony this morning for HB 2707, which aims to clarify and amend statutes pertaining to the marijuana dispensary system, ensures the efficient and responsible operation of medical marijuana dispensaries and ensures access to medical marijuana for qualifying patients.

medical bill2Bill Signing Ceremony for the following: HB 2707 aims to clarify and amend statutes pertaining to the marijuana dispensary system, ensures the efficient and responsible operation of medical marijuana dispensaries and ensures access to medical marijuana for qualifying patients.

Medical bill

Diabetic Mariner With Heart Condition Gets Seasick… Rescued

Coast Guard and Navy aircrews conducted a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner from the 45-foot sailing vessel Second Chance 184 miles north of Oahu, Sunday.

The crew of an HC-130 Hercules airplane sights the 45-foot sailing vessel Second Chance as the sun rises and makes radio contact with the six people aboard. The Hercules crew flew cover and managed communications for a Navy SH-60 crew on a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner 184 north of Oahu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers/Released)

The crew of an HC-130 Hercules airplane sights the 45-foot sailing vessel Second Chance as the sun rises and makes radio contact with the six people aboard. The Hercules crew flew cover and managed communications for a Navy SH-60 crew on a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner 184 north of Oahu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers/Released)

A Navy SH-60 helicopter crew from Kaneohe Bay hoisted the mariner aboard the helicopter and returned to Kaneohe Bay where he was transferred in stable condition to awaiting emergency medical personnel for further transport to Castle Medical Center.

The crew of an HC-130 Hercules airplane begins their preflight checks. The crew flew cover and managed communications for a Navy SH-60 crew on a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner 184 north of Oahu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers/Released)

The crew of an HC-130 Hercules airplane begins their preflight checks. The crew flew cover and managed communications for a Navy SH-60 crew on a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner 184 north of Oahu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers/Released)

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew flew cover for the Navy helicopter and managed communications with the sailing vessel crew for both aircraft and Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders. A Coast Guard hospital corpsman flew with the Navy helicopter crew, administered an IV to the mariner and monitored his condition en route to Oahu.

At 5:55 a.m. Thursday the Coast Guard received a request for a medevac of the mariner who was suffering from extreme seasickness and is diabetic with a heart condition. The vessel departed Ko’olina, Oahu, with six people aboard five days earlier but turned around when the mariner became severely ill.

They were three days from Oahu at the time of their call for assistance. A Coast Guard duty flight surgeon recommended the crew monitor the mariner’s condition and close the distance between them and Coast Guard crews. The Second Chance crew maintained a regular communications schedule with the Coast Guard.

By 4:40 a.m. Saturday the mariner’s previously stable condition was deteriorating. The Coast Guard duty flight surgeon recommended a medevac to bring the mariner to higher level of medical care as soon as possible. The Second Chance was still outside the range of any hoist capable aircraft and there were no vessels in the area. The crew continued to make way toward Oahu.

Watchstanders estimated the vessel would be within range of air assets by first light Sunday and coordinated with the Navy’s HSM-37 Easyrider Squadron to conduct the hoist. The Coast Guard Hercules crew launched prior to sunrise and the helicopter crew shortly after.

The helicopter crew deployed their rescue swimmer and attempted to hoist the mariner from the deck of the Second Chance but 13 mph winds from the east and 7-foot seas made it impossible to do safely. The rescue swimmer was instead able to swim the mariner from the sailing vessel to the awaiting rescue basket a few hundred yards from the Second Chance, clear of the mast and rigging. Once the mariner was safely aboard the crew recovered their rescue swimmer and departed for Kaneohe Bay.

 Petty Officer 3rd Class Connor Mitchell, an aviation maintenance technician, records the hoist of an ill mariner from the 45-foot sailing vessel Second Chance on the CASPER pallet while serving as part of the crew of a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane form Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. The Hercules crew flew cover and managed communications for a Navy SH-60 crew on a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner 184 north of Oahu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers/Released)

Petty Officer 3rd Class Connor Mitchell, an aviation maintenance technician, records the hoist of an ill mariner from the 45-foot sailing vessel Second Chance on the CASPER pallet while serving as part of the crew of a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane form Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. The Hercules crew flew cover and managed communications for a Navy SH-60 crew on a medevac of a 58-year-old mariner 184 north of Oahu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers/Released)

“This case’s extreme distance and the mariner’s need underscores the importance of having hoist capable helicopters in the main Hawaiian Islands,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Scott, of Coast Guard Joint Rescue and Coordination Center Honolulu. “Our thanks to the Navy for their continued support and partnership in this case, allowing us to get the mariner to vital medical care in the most expedient way possible.”

Hepatitis Outbreak on Oahu Continues

Additional cases of hepatitis A infection have been reported to the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH), increasing the number of confirmed cases to 31.  DOH staff worked through the holiday weekend to conduct interviews with the newly identified cases in an effort to identify the cause of infection.

Hepatitis A Facts“Identifying the source of infection is a challenge,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “Hepatitis A has a long incubation period lasting anywhere from two weeks to as long as 50 days.

Accurately recalling all of the foods consumed and locations visited during the period when infection could have taken place is challenging for many, especially those who are still feeling ill.” Patients infected with hepatitis A virus are most contagious during the week before the symptoms start until at least one week after the start of  the first symptoms.

“Since people are contagious before they feel ill, we are very concerned about the disease unknowingly being spreading to others,”said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler.

The virus is found in the stool of people with hepatitis A infection and is usually spread by eating contaminated food or drinking water, and can be spread through close personal or sexual contact. A person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others within the same household.

For this reason, DOH investigators are currently reaching out to individuals who were in contact with those who have or had hepatitis A. Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (a substance made from human blood plasma that contains antibodies to protect the body against diseases) administered within the first two weeks after exposure may provide some protection against the disease.

Unvaccinated individuals recently exposed to the disease are encouraged to talk to their healthcare providers about these preventive measures.

DOH continues to encourage the public to review their immunization record and talk to their healthcare provider about vaccination.

For a list of vaccinating pharmacies, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent hand washing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of Hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking and preparing foods can also help prevent infection.

Additional information about hepatitis A can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/hepatitis-a/.

BISAC Summer Jam 2016 – Saturday, July 30

BISAC Summer Jam 2016

Women’s Health, Safety Gets Hawaii State Support with New Laws

Measures that toughen the laws on violence against women, increase healthcare access, and provide more help for female veterans are among the bills signed into law today by Governor David Ige.

2016 Women's Legislative Caucus Members with Gov. Ige

2016 Women’s Legislative Caucus Members with Gov. Ige

A total of nine bills have been signed into law that were part of a package of bills submitted this session by the Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus (WLC).  Additionally, five resolutions were adopted by the Legislature. The Women’s Legislative Caucus is a bi-partisan organization comprised of women legislators in the House and Senate who support an agenda designed to improve the lives of women, children, and families in Hawai‘i. This year, the WLC expanded their membership to include women lawmakers at the City and County level.  The WLC co-conveners for 2016 are Senators Rosalyn H. Baker and Laura H. Thielen and Representatives Della Au Bellati and Lauren Kealohilani Matsumoto.

“I’m incredibly proud of the accomplishments of the Caucus this year,” said Sen. Laura Thielen (Kailua, Waimānalo, Hawai‘i Kai). “The bills we advocated for this session address serious concerns about violence against women and healthcare and will make a difference in the lives of women and children throughout the state.”

“I’m pleased that these important measures made it to the Governor’s desk and are now law,” said Sen. Rosalyn Baker (South and West Maui). “There’s much more work to be done to improve the lives of women and children here and I look forward to continuing these efforts with our colleagues in 2017. These new laws, however, demonstrate a strong commitment by our state to address health and safety concerns for women and families throughout Hawai’i.”

“By collaborating with our community partners and all of our colleagues in the Legislature, the Caucus has been successful in passing laws and policies that will improve the health and well-being of women and families throughout the State.  I am incredibly proud to be part of this bi-partisan Caucus that is committed to tackling complex and challenging problems, year after year, to find solutions that will benefit the people of Hawaii,” said Rep. Della Au Bellati (Makiki, Tantalus, McCully, Pawa‘a, Mānoa)

“The bills the Governor is signing today represents this Legislature’s continued commitment to women and addressing key issues such as sex trafficking, HIV/STD, jury duty and breastfeeding, and veterans issues statewide.  While there is still more work to be done, I am incredibly proud of the work our bi-partisan caucus has accomplished this year and I look forward to continuing our work in the next legislative session,” said Rep. Lauren Matsumoto (Schofield, Mokulē‘ia, Waialua, Kunia, Waipi‘o Acres, Mililani)

The House and Senate bills signed by the Governor today:

  • HB1902 CD1: Creates the offense of sex trafficking where a person advances prostitution by the use of force, threat, fraud, or intimidation or where a minor is prostituted.  Sex trafficking is classified as a violent crime and a class A felony.
  • HB1907 CD1: Requires all law enforcement agencies and departments charged with maintenance, storage, and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits to conduct an inventory of all stored kits and report to the Attorney General.  Requires the Department of the Attorney General to report to the Legislature on the number of untested sexual assault evidence collection kits being stored, plans and procedures for the disposition of new and untested kits, and related information.
  • HB 1897 CD1: Ensures that all insurers in the State provide insurance coverage for sexually transmitted disease screenings, including HIV and AIDS.
  • SB2319 CD1: Requires health insurers in the State, including health benefits plans under the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund and Medicaid managed care programs, to cover reimbursement for contraceptive supplies intended to last for up to a twelve-month period for an insured.
  • SB2317 CD1: Requires and appropriates funds for the Department of Health to conduct child death reviews, implement a program to perform maternal death reviews, and submit annual reports to the Legislature relating to child and maternal deaths and death reviews in the State.
  • HB2772 CD1: Adopts the preliminary recommendation of the affirmative consent task force including requiring the University of Hawaii to train employees and students on sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking policies.
  • HB2489 CD1: Appropriates funding for a veterans services counselor IV position within the Office of Veterans’ Services to address problems and needs of all veterans, with a primary focus on female veterans.

The following bills were signed into law earlier this session:

  • SB2315 HD2 (Act 46) which exempts from jury duty a woman who is breastfeeding for a period of two years from the birth of a child.
  • SB2310 (Act 4) provides further safeguards and protections for victims of domestic abuse by prohibiting the court from granting mutual protective orders unless separate petitions are filed and reasonable notice of the filing of a separate petition is provided.

The following resolutions were adopted by the Legislature:

  • HCR137 SD2: Requesting the Department of Education to convene a working group to review after-school programs in Hawai‘i’s public middle and intermediate schools.
  • HR89: Requesting the Department of Education to affirm its commitment to uphold the tenets of Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972.
  • SCR85 SD1: Affirming support of Planned Parenthood, recognizing its vital role in providing health care, and denouncing violence towards abortion providers and their patients.
  • SR56 SD1: Affirming support of Planned Parenthood, recognizing its vital role in providing health care, and denouncing violence towards abortion providers and their patients.
  • SR57 SD1: Requesting the convening of a paid Family Leave Task Force to examine the benefits and costs of a potential paid family leave program in Hawai‘i.

Commentary – Congressional Candidate on “Green Harvest”

As a Hawaiian nationalist candidate for U.S. Congress (HI-2, Neighbor Islands, Suburban Oahu) I find it to be highly disturbing that the will of the voters of Hawai’i County (Big Island) was illegally usurped by the Hawai’i Supreme Court, when they knocked down the lowest law enforcement priority ordinance passed by Hawai’i County voters, with the purpose of nearly eliminating personal pot busts by law enforcement on the island.

Policing in Hawai’i County (Big Island) is operating without the consent of the governed. The occupying force of the United States, with federally funded choppers spying over our private homes, continues to intrude upon our lives with “Operation Green Harvest”. They brainwash our school children through DARE to become spies on their own parent’s herbs.

I urge citizens to make YouTube videos of the choppers over their homes so the world can see what the military occupation of Hawaii by the United States and harassment of citizens by the imperialist U.S. police forces looks like.

Until the time that the criminal justice system of Hawai’i County is entirely devolved and controlled by the working-class people of the island, we are living under an illegitimate U.S. occupying police force that local citizens should not cooperate with.

If elected to Congress, one of my first tasks will be to defund Operation Green Harvest and to reallocate the funds to support Native Hawaiian cultural and education programs.

The US has no right to remain in Hawai’i, and never has had such a right. No more choppers!

Rev. Dr. Eric Hafner
Candidate for U.S. Congresss (HI-2)

Hawaii Relaunches “Fight the Bite” to Battle All Mosquito-Borne Diseases

As summer brings to Hawaii increased travel to and from the state, top state and local officials, including Governor Ige and Mayors Arakawa, Caldwell, Carvalho, and Kenoi stood together today to demonstrate a concerted statewide effort to “Fight the Bite” and keep Hawaii free of diseases spread by mosquitoes.

Fight the Bite at Capital

The public education campaign has been relaunched by the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) during National Mosquito Control Awareness Week and expanded to include all mosquito-borne diseases that pose a threat to Hawaii, such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for Zika at the highest level of activation following action by the World Health Organization (WHO), which declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern over the Zika virus and the health problems it can cause.

In April, a team from Hawaii attended the CDC’s Zika Action Plan Summit, and this month, DOH requested federal funds totaling approximately $4 million to support statewide Zika-related control, monitoring, and prevention efforts. Federal funds are being made available through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement; Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grant; and Hawaii Birth Defects Surveillance, Intervention, and Follow-up for Zika Virus Grant.

Last week, Hawaii also participated as one of a few selected states in a Zika response exercise in Washington D.C. “Hawaii is fortunate none of these diseases are endemic or native to our state, and we need to work together to make sure it stays this way,” said Gov. David Ige. “We are part of a nationwide effort to combat diseases spread by mosquitoes, and with the Department of Health leading the charge to bring partners together to raise awareness about mosquito prevention, I’m confident that communities will come together, as our state and county leadership have done, to ensure the safety of our islands.”

Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler added, “Mosquito season in Hawaii is year-round, but with increased travel and more outdoor activities during the summer months, we need to be on our guard and keep residents and visitors well-informed about mosquito-borne diseases and how to reduce the chances of outbreaks in our state. Hawaii has been identified as one of the nation’s higher risk areas for the potential spread of the Zika virus so we hope people will keep mosquito prevention and control top-of-mind all year long.”

The revamped “Fight the Bite” campaign has two key components. The first comes on the heels of the recent Hawaii Island dengue fever outbreak, which began in October 2015 and continued through the spring of this year. As a follow up to the intense response to 264 cases of dengue fever, that likely began as a result of an infected traveler, DOH coordinated with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and county emergency management/civil defense agencies to develop a response plan specifically for mosquito-borne diseases. It outlines ongoing preparedness activities to take place when there are no cases, as well as response measures for all imported cases and measures in the event of infected mosquitoes transmitting a disease locally.

The second component includes a research-based public education campaign that leverages numerous broadcast and social media channels to build awareness about mosquito-borne disease prevention. Starting in early July, Hawaii residents can expect to hear “Fight the Bite” messages on local radio and television stations statewide, and see graphics in malls and shopping centers. The $250,000 media campaign is being funded by the state and will include community engagement activities to spearhead and encourage grassroots efforts to reduce mosquito breeding areas across the state. All resources will be made available to the public at the redesigned campaign website at www.FightTheBiteHawaii.com.

DOH is coordinating closely with tourism officials to ensure the “Fight the Bite” message reaches visitors to Hawaii. With the support of the Hawaii Tourism Authority and State Department of Transportation, people can also expect to see updated “Fight the Bite” information this year in key points-of-entry, such as airports and harbors.

“We are working together with our travel industry partners to educate their workers, guests and customers,” said George D. Szigeti Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO. “We all need to do our part to protect Hawaii from mosquito-borne illnesses.” Educational outreach to youth is also an important piece of the campaign. “Many educators working at the Department of Education already offer information about mosquito-borne disease prevention to students,” said Deputy Superintendent Stephen Schatz. “DOH and DOE are working to identify new opportunities and to train staff so that they may better educate Hawaii’s students.”

For more information about the education campaign, response plan, and mosquito-borne diseases and how to prevent them, visit www.FightTheBiteHawaii.com.

 

Farm to School Initiative Asks Farmers to Submit Bids

The Farm to School Initiative is seeking qualified farmers and vendors to submit bids to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to various Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) schools statewide.  Local farmers are encouraged to submit their bids by July 13.  The invitation for bids (IFB) can be found at http://spo3.hawaii.gov/notices/notices/ifb-d17-005.

Farm to foodSpearheaded by Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, the HIDOE and Department of Agriculture are working collaboratively on the Initiative.  The goal is to address the supply and demand issues surrounding the purchasing of local food for our school cafeterias.  The Initiative also aims to systematically increase State purchasing of local food for our school menus as well as connect our keiki with their food through the use of products from the local agricultural community.

“With Hawaii importing about 85 percent of our food, the Farm to School Initiative is one way we are working towards becoming food sustainable in our state,” said Lt. Governor Tsutsui.  “While supporting local farmers and our economy, we are also feeding our students with locally-grown fresh fruit and vegetables.”

HIDOE has 256 public schools and its School Food Services Branch feeds approximately 100,000 students and staff each day.

“We’ve made it a priority to purchase local produce, however, our options have been limited,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are hopeful that this initiative will allow for more locally-based products to be used in our schools’ food services while keeping costs reasonable.”

“We encourage local farmers to participate in this program,” said Scott Enright, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “One of the challenges farmers face is the uncertainty of supply and demand and this program will help farmers plan and grow their crops with the knowledge that there will be a market for their produce.  In addition, keiki will be able to grow up with an appreciation of locally grown fruits and vegetables.”

Across the nation, farm to school programs are reconnecting students to a better understanding of the food system and where their food comes from.  Farm to school programs introduce students to healthier eating habits and help them become familiar with new vegetables and fruits that they and their families will then be more willing to incorporate into their own diets.

In April, the Farm to School Initiative gathered information from farmers and ranchers as well as hosted a mixer to inform them on how to become a qualified vendor with the State.  Those events, including the IFB, culminates with the Farm to School Initiative Pilot Project, which is expected to begin in 2017.

Hepatitis Outbreak on Oahu

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) is investigating a cluster of at least 12 cases of hepatitis A infection in adults on Oahu; six have required hospitalization. Onsets of illness have ranged from June 16 through June 27, 2016.

Click to see where to get vaccinations.

Click to see where to get vaccinations.

Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes. Symptoms typically last several weeks to as long as two months. Hepatitis A virus is found in the stool of infected persons and is usually spread by eating contaminated food or drinking water, but can also be spread through close personal/sexual contact. Persons should seek medical attention immediately should they develop symptoms.

“Hepatitis A infection is a vaccine-preventable disease, and fortunately, most children and adolescents have been vaccinated as part of routine childhood vaccination recommendations,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “However, many adults have not been vaccinated and remain susceptible.”

State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park added, “Healthcare providers have been informed and asked to notify us immediately if they have a patient they suspect may be infected. Treatment for hepatitis A infection is supportive only, and while most people will recover without complications, we are encouraging everyone to review their immunization record and talk to their healthcare provider about vaccination.”

Hepatitis A vaccine is readily available at local pharmacies. Two doses of hepatitis A vaccine, given at least six (6) months apart, are needed for lasting protection. For a list of vaccinating pharmacies, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

Additional information about hepatitis A can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/hepatitis-a/.

Cool Schools Initiative – Hawaii First State to Mandate Clean Energy Schools

The Department of Education is expected to spend nearly $1 billion on electricity by 2035, but can save hundreds of millions through progress toward clean energy goals established by House Bill 2569, signed by Gov. David Ige today.

hb2569

“This bill will save hundreds of millions in future operating costs that can be better spent in classrooms and higher paid teachers instead of utility bills,” said Rep. Chris Lee, the bill’s introducer. “It also creates important accountability and transparency requirements for the $100 million the state has already given the DOE to cool classrooms.”

The measure requires the DOE to:

  • Establish a goal of becoming net-zero with respect to energy use by January 1, 2035;
  • Expedite the cooling of all public school classrooms; and
  • Submit an annual transparency and accountability report to the Legislature containing information about its progress toward the cooling of all classrooms and net-zero energy goal.

The state Department of Education spends about $48 million a year on electricity. By installing more efficient lighting, using natural ventilation, and investing in renewable technologies such as solar panels and batteries to power schools, energy costs will be reduced and student performance improved, according to Lee.

 

Hawaii is the first state to mandate that clean energy be used by all its public schools.

Chamber of Commerce Hawaii Donates $17,100 to Kahi Mohala

Sutter Health Kahi Mohala received a $17,100 donation from The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s Public Health Fund.
Kahi Mohala
The funds will be used to support Kahi Mohala’s Healing Forces Trauma Recovery Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), a specialized outpatient day program designed for military personnel and veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related mental health problems caused by trauma during their service.

“The Chamber’s generous gift will increase operational capacity and treat more of our military service members and veterans exposed to things like combat and multiple deployments,” said Dr. Ken Delano, clinical director for Healing Forces. “Through our partial hospitalization program, we help patients improve their coping skills and implement permanent lifestyle changes to maintain long-term recovery.”

The program provides treatment five days a week and is aimed at preventing further de-compensation and inpatient hospitalization. The program is the only one of its kind in Hawaii treating both military men and women.

“We are deeply committed to helping the military personnel and veterans who served our country recover from their time abroad by contributing to the innovative, high-quality treatment,” said Phyllis Dendle, Administrator for the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s Public Health Fund.

Statewide Campaign on Mosquito-Borne Diseases and Threats to Hawaii to be Announced

Governor Ige and the Mayors of Honolulu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii Counties will announce a new statewide public education campaign to build awareness of mosquito-borne diseases and their threat to Hawaii.

Mosquito Bite

The state and counties will also announce the state’s planning efforts to prevent, prepare, and protect Hawaii from mosquito-borne disease outbreaks this summer and throughout the year. State departments will mention special efforts underway to reach visitors, traveling residents and students with guidance on preventing the spread of Zika.

Why: As a favorite travel destination, Hawaii is identified as one of the nation’s higher risk areas for the potential spread of Zika virus. With the Aedes Aegypti mosquito present in our state, year-long warm climate, and past experience with dengue outbreaks, mosquitos pose a serious threat to our residents and visitors.

When:  Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.

Where: Governor’s Ceremonial Chambers, State Capitol 5th floor

Who:

  • Governor David Y. Ige
  • Mayor Kirk Caldwell, City & County of Honolulu
  • Mayor Alan Arakawa, County of Maui
  • Mayor Bernard Carvalho, County of Kauai
  • Mayor Billy Kenoi, County of Hawaii
  • Dr. Virginia Pressler, Director, Hawaii Department of Health
    Major General Arthur J. Logan, Adjutant General, Department of Defense
  • George Szigeti, Director, Hawaii Tourism Authority
  • Ross Higashi, Airports Division Deputy Director, Department of Transportation
  • Steven Schatz, Deputy Superintendent, Department of Education