Hawaii Tourism Authority President & CEO Chris Tatum Announces His Retirement

After a 40-year career dedicated to serving the hospitality industry and working to make a positive difference for Hawaii, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) President & CEO Chris Tatum announced he’s retiring. His last day at HTA will be August 31.

Chris Tatum

Tatum was appointed to the top tourism position for the State of Hawaii in December 2018 after a 37-year career with Marriott International.

Under his leadership, HTA established Hawaii’s direction for tourism’s future in the coming years with its 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.

HTA is putting an increased focus on destination management, which includes investing more time and money in programs that support the community, perpetuate the Hawaiian culture, and protect Hawaii’s natural resources. He also advocated for workplace development in tourism to provide local students with career opportunities in hospitality.

“I’m very proud of the HTA team and our refocused plans to develop a balanced strategy for tourism. With active collaboration from the community, we need to create a sustainable industry that is respectful of the culture and protects our environment for future generations. I plan to spend the next three months working with the HTA board on the transition and supporting the state’s recovery efforts,” Tatum said.

HTA Board Chair Rick Fried commented, “Chris is smart, candid, always puts the residents of Hawaii first, and, most importantly to me, is unfailingly honest. When he asked to come to my office on Monday, I assumed it was just to discuss various HTA matters as we often do. After a few minutes of talking he handed me a brown envelope with his resignation letter and explained his thinking. I deal with many sad cases, but I teared up when it became clear his decision was final.”

HTA Chief Administrative Officer Keith Regan said, “It has been such a blessing to have had the opportunity to work alongside Chris. From the first day, he displayed all the great qualities you’d expect from a true leader. Besides his decisive and passionate approach, what I’ve really appreciated has been his willingness to share, teach, and mentor those around him has elevated the whole organization. He has placed HTA on the right footing, focused on balance and sustainability. We owe him a true debt of gratitude and I, for one, am truly indebted to him for his incredible leadership.”

Prior to joining HTA, his experience included executive leadership positions on the U.S. mainland, in Asia, Australia, and Hawaii. His career started as a housekeeping houseman at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel during his summers home from college.

Tatum moved to Hawaii with his family in 1965, when his father Lon was a member of the U.S. Air Force, and his mother Bette was a teacher. He’s a proud graduate of Radford High School. The Tatum family fell in love with the islands and made Hawaii their lifelong home.

Before her passing in 2017, Bette was a well-respected leader in the business community as executive director of the National Federation of Small Business for the State of Hawaii. Lon retired from the military and supported Bette’s career until his passing in 2010. Tatum’s brother Lonnie was a very successful owner of a recreational vehicle dealership in Washington State until his passing in 2004.

Tatum and his wife Peg, who have been married for 28 years, plan to relocate to Colorado to begin the next stage of their lives.

“After 40 years in a 24/7 industry, I’m looking forward to traveling with Peg and spending quality time with my daughter Sam and son Alex. I’m blessed to have grown up and raised our kids in the islands and Hawaii will always be our home.”

Hawaii to Receive More Than $5.5M in Federal Funding for Law Enforcement, COVID-19 Training

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz today announced Hawai‘i will receive more than $5.5 million in new federal funding to support local law enforcement agencies and cover the cost of COVID-19 response efforts, including personal protective equipment for law enforcement personnel, training, and overtime pay for officers on the frontlines.

“Our police and correctional officers are on the frontlines of this pandemic and are putting their health at risk to keep our communities safe,” said Sen. Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This new funding will give our law enforcement officers additional resources to protect themselves and our communities during this crisis.”

The more than $5.5 million in funding for Hawai‘i law enforcement includes:

  • $3,642,919 for the State of Hawai‘i
  • $246,300 for the County of Hawai‘i
  • $87,170 for the County of Kauai
  • $260,083 for the County of Maui
  • $1,296,475 for the City and County of Honolulu

This funding is made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and allows states and local government to support a broad range of activities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the pandemic, including through overtime, personal protective equipment, hiring, supplies, training, and travel expenses.

Princess Cruises Extends Pause of Hawaii Operations Through November

Due to reduced air flight availability, the closure of cruise ports in regions around the world and other factors impacting international travel, Princess Cruises is extending its pause of global ship operations and has therefore made the extremely difficult decision to cancel select cruises through the end of the 2020 summer season, including the following cruises and associated cruisetours:

  • Fall cruises sailing to Hawaii and French Polynesia on Pacific Princess through November
  • All remaining Alaska cruises on Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess 
  • All remaining Europe and Transatlantic cruises on Enchanted Princess, Regal Princess, Sky Princess, Crown Princess and Island Princess 
  • Summer Caribbean cruises and all Canada & New England cruises on Caribbean Princess and Sky Princess 
  • Summer to Fall cruises departing from Japan on Diamond Princess 
  • Australia-based cruises on Sapphire Princess and Sea Princess through August  
  • July cruises sailing from Taiwan on Majestic Princess 
Fall cruises sailing to Hawaii and French Polynesia on Pacific Princess through November

“As the world is still preparing to resume travel, it is with much disappointment that we announce an extension of our pause of global ship operations and the cancellation of cruise vacations for our loyal guests,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “Among other disruptions, airlines have limited their flight availability and many popular cruise ports are closed. It saddens us to think about the impact on the livelihood of our teammates, business partners and the communities we visit.” 

Guests currently booked on these canceled voyages, who have paid Princess in full, will have the option to receive a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) equivalent to 100% of the cruise fare paid plus an additional bonus FCC equal to 25% of the cruise fare. 

For guests who have not paid in full, Princess will Double the Deposit, providing a refundable FCC for the money currently on deposit plus a matching bonus FCC that can be used on any voyage through May 1, 2022. The matching bonus FCC will not exceed the base cruise fare amount of the currently booked cruise and will have a minimum value of $100 per person. 

In order to receive the above FCC no action is required.

Alternatively, guests can request a full refund for all monies paid on their booking through this online form. Requests must be received by June 15, 2020, or they will receive the refundable Future Cruise Credit option. 

Princess will protect travel advisor commissions on bookings for cancelled cruises that were paid in full, in recognition of the critical role they play in the cruise line’s business and success.

The most current information and instructions for booked guests affected by these cancellations, and more information on FCCs and refunds, can be found online at Information on Impacted & Cancelled Cruises.

Gov. Ige extends Stay-at-Home Order Across State Through May 31

Gov. David Ige signed a 6th supplementary emergency proclamation extending the stay-at-home order across the state through May 31.

“This was not an easy decision. I know this has been difficult for everyone. Businesses need to reopen. People want to end this self-isolation and we want to return to normal,” said Gov. Ige. “But this virus is potentially deadly, especially for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. Thanks to our residents, we are flattening the curve, saving lives, and avoiding a resurgence of this virus by not reopening prematurely.”

The stay-at-home order means residents may leave their homes only for various essential needs, including healthcare, purchasing food, medicine, gasoline, taking care of the elderly, minors, or those with disabilities, returning to a place of residence outside of Hawai‘i, picking up educational materials for distance learning, receiving meals or other related services. Outdoor exercise is also permitted – including swimming, surfing and walking pets.

In addition, running, jogging or walking on the beach will be permitted, as long as social distancing requirements are observed.

Also extended through the end of May — the 14-day quarantine for both visitors and residents entering the state and for inter-island travelers.

The eviction moratorium, which prevents any eviction from a residential dwelling for failure to pay rent, also remains in effect through May 31.

In addition, social distancing requirements remain in place across the state through the end of May.

Gov. Ige issued the initial emergency proclamation for COVID-19 on Mar. 4, 2020 followed by:

  • Mar. 16: Supplementary proclamation suspending certain laws to enable state and county responses to COVID-19
  • Mar. 21: Second supplementary proclamation implementing mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for visitors and residents entering the State of Hawai‘i
  • Mar. 23: Third supplementary proclamation mandating social distancing measures throughout the state
  • Mar. 31: Fourth supplementary proclamation implementing a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for people traveling between the islands in the State of Hawai‘i
  • Apr. 16: Fifth supplementary proclamation implementing enhanced social distancing requirements and an eviction moratorium

Hawaii Set To Receive $1.6 Million To Support Rural Hospitals, Expand Telehealth Capacity During Pandemic

Today, Sen. Brian Schatz announced that Hawai‘i will receive $1,671,741 in new federal funding to help the state respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in rural and underserved communities. This funding, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will provide critical resources to rural hospitals as well support expanded use of telehealth services across the state.

“We need to make sure people get the care they need during this public health crisis,” said Senator Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This new federal funding will expand access to much-needed health services, especially in our rural communities.”

The Hawai‘i Department of Health will receive a $843,170 federal grant to help rural hospitals purchase more personal protective equipment, boost testing capacity, and fund other critical functions. The Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center at the University of Hawai‘i will receive a $828,571 federal grant toprovide expertise and customized telehealth technical assistance to health care providers across the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has encouraged the use of telehealth during the coronavirus outbreak to expand access to care while minimizing the risk of transmitting the virus. The coronavirus response legislation has included multiple Schatz provisions to increase access to telehealth services during the current public health emergency. This has allowed more patients to receive care at home, while freeing up health resources and limiting the spread of infections in emergency rooms and hospitals.

HHS Announces CARES Act Funding Distribution to States

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is announcing upcoming action by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide additional resources to state and local jurisdictions in support of our nation’s response to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Using funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, CDC is awarding $631 million to 64 jurisdictions (Hawaii will receive $12,392,500) through the existing Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC) cooperative agreement. These funds, along with the previous support CDC has provided, will help states with their efforts to re-open America.

“This new funding secured from Congress by President Trump will help public health departments across America continue to battle COVID-19 and expand their capacity for testing, contact tracing, and containment,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “The professionals who staff America’s state, local, tribal, and territorial public health departments have played a vital role in protecting Americans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, by reporting and analyzing surveillance data, tracing the spread of the virus, and developing scientific guidelines appropriate for local communities. As we look toward re-opening the economy, the work of these dedicated public health officials is only going to get more important, and the Trump Administration and CDC will be working right alongside them to assist.”

“This infusion of additional funding into the nation’s public health infrastructure will strengthen our capacity to implement tried and true containment measures,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “The ability to implement aggressive contact tracing, surveillance and testing will be fundamental to protecting vulnerable populations as the nation takes steps to reopen and Americans begin returning to their daily lives.”

CDC will use existing networks to reach out to state and local jurisdictions to access this funding, which may be used for a variety of activities including:

  • Establishing or enhancing the ability to aggressively identify cases, conduct contact tracing and follow up, as well as implement appropriate containment measures.
  • Improving morbidity and mortality surveillance.
  • Enhancing testing capacity.
  • Controlling COVID-19 in high-risk settings and protect vulnerable or high-risk populations.
  • Working with healthcare systems to manage and monitor system capacity.

To view a full list of the funding jurisdictions, including past COVID-19 related funding from CDC, please visit here.

STUDY: Hawaii Most Slowed Down by COVID-19

With many industries in the U.S. ground to a halt because of the coronavirus social distancing restrictions, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on the States Slowing Down the Most During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In order to find out which states are slowing down most during the COVID-19 pandemic, WalletHub used Google data to compare the 50 states across six key metrics. Each metric measures the percentage point increase or decrease in visits to various types of places due to coronavirus. Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A.

Slowdown Due to COVID-19 in Hawaii (1=Most Slowed, 25=Avg.):

  • 4th – Retail & Recreation Mobility Changes
  • 1st – Grocery & Pharmacy Mobility Changes
  • 1st – Parks Mobility Changes
  • 1st – Transit Stations Mobility Changes
  • 3rd – Workplaces Mobility Changes
  • 1st – Residential Mobility Changes

For the full report, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/states-slowing-down-the-most-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/73432/

Hawai’i COVID-19 Updates

Thirteen (13) New Cases of COVID-19 Reported

All of the 13 additional cases of COVID-19 reported by DOH are adults and all but one are Hawai‘i residents. The place of residence of one person is under investigation. There is an even split between infection risk factors, with travel-association noted in six (6) cases, and community-spread also at six (6). Risk factor for one person is unknown at this time.

Update on Kona McDonald’s Cases

There are no new cases associated with the cluster at McDonald’s restaurants at Kailua-Kona on Hawai‘i Island. DOH is continuing to monitor all six (6) employees and six (6) family members who are in isolation or quarantine (one employee was counted as a household member, was quarantined before identification as a case and was likely exposed at home rather than work). The department is continuing to work with McDonald’s to ensure appropriate infection control measures are in place when the restaurants reopen. DOH is reiterating that there is low risk to the public, as only workers or their family members are involved, and when open the restaurants were taking necessary physical distancing measures to protect customers.

LABORATORY TESTING DATA

Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State LaboratoriesPositiveNegative
20,53552819,972

35 test results were inconclusive

HAWAI‘I COVID-19 COUNTS AS OF 12:00 NOON, APRIL 15, 2020

Island of DiagnosisNew CasesReported since2/28/2020(including new cases)Total Released from Isolation
O‘ahu11369271
Hawai‘i04130
Maui49042
Kaua‘i02116
Moloka‘i02Included in Maui numbers
Lana‘i00Included in Maui numbers
Residents Diagnosed outside HI06 
Unknown**-21 
Total13530 
Total released from isolation359
Deaths09

** Refers to positive cases that have an unknown county of diagnosis at the time of this report. As more information becomes available for these cases, they are assigned to the proper County of Diagnosis. A negative number indicates the number of previously unknown cases that have now been assigned to a county.

Medical Reserve Corps has Successful Kick-off

In the first 24 hours since HAH and DOH put out the call for volunteers, medical professionals and others, 111 people have responded. Mahalo, and if you have skills and/or time to devote please register: www.nlk.doh.hawaii.gov.

Department of Defense:

800 Additional National Guard Members Put on Mission 

The Hawai‘i National Guard is increasing its personnel to 1,200 Guardsmen to help with the COVID-19 response. Last week, 400 Soldiers and Airmen were activated, meaning a total of 800 more Guardsmen will be brought on status to assist by tomorrow. National Guard Commanders for each island have been in contact with the county mayors and emergency management team to best help the state in its COVID-19 response. Joint Task Force Commander Brig. Gen. Moses Kaoiwi Jr. said: “I am confident that by working together, we will meet our objectives of continuing to flatten the curve and create a safe and secure environment for the people of Hawai‘i.” The National Guard has received federal funding to assist in pay and allowances for Soldiers and Airmen.

Soldiers Returning to Hawai‘i After Deployment 

A Hawaiʻi Army National Guard unit, the 1st Battalion, 487th Field Artillery, is returning home Wednesday night from a year-long deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq. About 300 Soldiers are taking a chartered flight from Fort Bliss, Texas to reunite with their families at a National Guard facility. Only two members from each Soldier’s family will be allowed to attend the reunion and they will have to stay in their cars the entire time to ensure social-distancing rules. The Soldiers completed a 14-day quarantine before leaving Texas. Once arriving in Hawaiʻi, they will be subject to the governor’s stay-at-home order.

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority: 

Hotels for Heroes Provides Nearly 1,000 Rooms So Far

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB), and the Hawai‘i Lodging and Tourism Association (HLTA) have developed the Hotels for Heroes program that’s providing complimentary rooms for health care workers and first responders during the COVID-19 crisis. State tourism dollars are being used to pay for these hotel rooms. The program started on Monday, April 6. This table shows the number of room nights booked so far.

HOTEL FOR HEROES AS OF APRIL 13, 2020

Kaua‘i17
O‘ahu563
Maui192
Hawai‘i151
Total Booked to date923

Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism:

DBEDT is reporting the following interisland passenger numbers for Hawai‘i airports on April 12, 2020.

                                                                                          Arriving Airport

Departing AirportHNLKOAITOOGGLIHMMKLNY
Honolulu (HNL)033375915181
Kona (KOA)61004000
Hilo (ITO)55000000
Kahului (OGG)31300030
Līhuʻe (LIH)43000000
Lanaʻi (LYN)2000000
Total Arriving19236376515181
Total Departing15941483641 4

Department of Labor and Industrial Relations:

Hawai‘i Unemployment Filings at 237,048

The DLIR has taken 237,048 initial filings since March 1 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of those initial claims were filed via a web form that was made available on March 23. All claims will be honored from the date of separation, if eligible. Governor Ige announced during his daily media briefing that last week, more than $11 million in benefits was distributed – with $7.7 million sent out yesterday alone. The governor said, “The system was initially unable to handle the increased volume of claims. But it has been upgraded and we are diligently working on increasing and improving the filing and processing of new claims. A step-by-step guide is available to walk individuals through the process of filing, certifying and obtaining unemployment benefits at: http://labor.hawaii.gov/blog/main/covid-19-how-to-obtain-unemployment-ins-benefits/. Yesterday, a web portal went live that gives claimants the ability to check on the status of their claims at https://huiclaims2020.hawaii.gov/status. In addition, three distinct email addresses are available for claimants with specific challenges with their claims and are processed by the offices in Līhuʻe, Kona and Hilo:

VIDEO: Gov. Ige Addresses State Employees

Hawaii Gov. David Ige released the following statement and video regarding the current situation going on with the COVID-19 Crisis.

Gov. David Ige


To all my fellow employees of the State of Hawaiʻi. These are very challenging times, and your efforts and dedication are helping to shepherd our community through the COVID-19 crisis. Many of you were informed recently by your union or read the news reports of proposed budget cuts. Let me be very frank with you, due to this crisis the main sources of state revenue have been drastically reduced. And state government needs to look very different going forward. I have begun initial conversations with the Legislature and the unions that represent you, but no decisions have been made yet. These discussions are ongoing and we will keep you informed and updated on what this means for you in the days to come.

I wish that I could speak to each of you personally and express my heartfelt thanks for your hard work and commitment to the people of Hawaiʻi. I am very proud of everything that we have accomplished. And I know that, together, we will defeat this pandemic and protect the health of our families, friends and neighbors. Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. And, most importantly, take care of our community. The following link is to a video message from me that expresses my gratitude for everything that you do.

Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 on Big Island by Age Group

The amount of cases of COVID-19 by age groups on the Big Island of Hawaii as of April 8, 2020, breaks down like this:

  • Ages 0-19: 16 cases with none requiring hospitalization (0%)
  • Ages 20-39: 137 cases with 5 requiring hospitalization (3.5%)
  • Ages 40-59: 149 cases with 11 requiring hospitalization (6.9%)
  • Ages 60+: 98 cases with 26 requiring hospitalization (21%)

Spread of COVID-19 in the State of Hawaii as of April 8, 2020:

Cluster of Healthcare Workers at MMMC Contract COVID-19

The Star-Advertiser reports that at least 15 healthcare workers have contracted Coronavirus at the Maui Memorial Medical Center.

Maui Memorial Medical Center

The Maui Legislative Delegation issued the following statement after multiple employees at Maui Memorial Hospital tested positive for COVID-19:

“While the details of these cases are still forthcoming, we are deeply concerned for the safety of our healthcare professionals and other first responders. These employees are on the front lines everyday working to protect our community during this health crisis and we must do what we can to ensure their health and well-being.

As our islands lone major healthcare facility, our delegation is confident in the hospital’s ability to address this situation while continuing to provide quality care for the people of Maui County. We ask all residents to continue following the proper health protocols as we rapidly work to mitigate the spread of this virus.”

Mayor Michael Victorino provided the following statement on COVID-19 cases at Maui Memorial Medical Center.

“I was informed this morning that a cluster of COVID-19 cases has been identified and involve hospital staff at Maui Memorial Medical Center. These employees were immediately sent home to self-isolate and plans are moving forward to transport these workers to a quarantine site away from their families.”

“We also are working very closely with Maui Health System, the State Department of Health and others to accelerate testing for additional hospital workers this afternoon. Gov. David Ige has assured me that he will do everything he can to expedite test results.”

“I want to mahalo everyone who is on the front lines of this pandemic. These are difficult times for all of us and we are taking immediate action to assist our healthcare workers. The County will be redirecting any available personal protective equipment to the hospital for their staff.”

“We will continue to do everything in our power to protect the health and safety of everyone in Maui County.”

The Maui Legislative Delegation members are Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English (Senate District 7 – Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and Kahoʻolawe), Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran (Senate District 5 – Wailuku, Waiheʻe, Kahului), Senator Rosalyn Baker (Senate District 6 – South and West Maui), Representative Lynn DeCoite (House District 13 – Molokaʻi, East Maui, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe and Molokini), Representative Troy Hashimoto (Houst District 8 – Kahakuloa, Waiheʻe, Waiʻehu, Puʻuohala, Wailuku, Waikapū), Representative Angus McKelvey (House District 10 – West Maui, Māʻalaea, North Kīhei), Representative Tina Wildberger (House District 11 – South Maui), Representative Justin Woodson (House District 9 – Kahului, Puʻunēnē, Old Sand Hills, Maui Lani) and Representative Kyle Yamashita (Spreckelsville, Pukalani, Makawao, Kula, Keokea, Ulupalakua, Kahului).

Over $10 Million for Health Centers in Hawaii for COVID-19 Response

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono announced that community health centers across Hawaii will receive over $10 million in additional funding to respond to, prevent, diagnose, and treat COVID-19. The funds are available as part of the CARES Act, the third coronavirus relief package Congress recently passed. Community health centers in Hawaii also received about $1 million in funding in the first coronavirus relief package.

Sen. Hirono, Adjutatant Gen. Hara and Big Island Mayoral Candidate Ikaika Marzo during the 2018 Leilani Estates eruption.

“Our community health centers continue to meet the daunting challenge of responding to the coronavirus pandemic. This infusion of funds will provide much-needed resources to a vital health care network,” Sen. Hirono said. “Community health centers throughout Hawaii – and all health care providers – need additional support to keep up their work, and we must provide full funding and authorization for community health centers going forward.”

Community health centers receiving new grant funding include the following:

Hoola Lahui Hawaii Kauai Community Health Center:$578,930
West Hawaii Community Health Center:$783,110
Lanai Community Health Center$542,510
Molokai Community Health Center:$550,535
Waikiki Health:$703,490
Hana Health:$542,150
Kalihi-Palama Health Center:$1,021,625
Bay Clinic:$876,290
Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center:$1,163,675
Community Clinic of Maui:$740,615
Hamakua-Kohala Health:$596,360
Koolauloa Health Center:$634,325
Waimanalo Health Center$584,870
Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services:$719,510

$12 Million in HUD Grants for Hawaii Coronavirus Response & Recovery

Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono announced that Hawaii has received more than $12 million in Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants to address the critical housing needs of Hawaii residents during the coronavirus pandemic. These funds come from the third coronavirus relief package Congress passed last week.

The grants include Community Development Block Grants, Emergency Solutions Grants, and grants through the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program. The grants will help service providers respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing resources to protect Hawaii’s vulnerable communities. Potential uses of funding include the purchase of additional personal protective equipment, ensuring critical response infrastructure is available when needed, and helping at-risk populations stay safe. The HUD funds will be distributed to the state, as well as to Hawaii County, Kauai County, Maui County, and the City and County of Honolulu.

“The coronavirus pandemic has stretched resources thin for families and communities across the country,” Senator Hirono said. “This funding is a critical early step in protecting and providing resources for some of our most at-risk populations. I will continue my advocacy to ensure that future coronavirus relief packages prioritize workers, families, and the most vulnerable.”

Traffic Volume Data for Major State Routes Now Available

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is sharing traffic volume data for major state routes on the HDOT website. The data will be updated weekly on Mondays and is available online.

HDOT is making this data available during the period of Governor Ige’s Stay-at-Home order, which became effective Statewide on March 25 and is in place through April 30, to verify the capabilities of major state routes to accommodate extended lane closure hours and to provide general data on compliance with the order.

After the Stay-at-Home order period passes, HDOT will continue to update the data as an economic indicator for the State.

Click to enlarge

The percentage change in the traffic volume data is calculated from the 2019 Average Annual Daily Traffic counts taken by permanent traffic counting stations HDOT maintains Statewide.

Hawaii Island traffic station locations used for comparison.

This data accompanies other offerings on the HDOT website such as the Highways Program Status Map (linked here) and the Lane Closure Map (linked here). Note that the Highways Program Status Map that is normally updated on the first working day of the month will be temporarily delayed, but still contains the latest available data as of March 2 on current and future HDOT projects, pavement and bridge conditions, and locations and major contributing factors of fatal crashes.

Hawaii COVID-19 Retest Associated With Death Comes Back Negative

(Hawaii) – Internal communication of a COVID-19 test at the Dept. of Health resulted in a report being misread and initiated a retest of samples today from an O‘ahu adult, who died on March 20th. This evening the second test came back negative for COVID-19.

DOH Director Dr. Bruce Anderson says our focus was to get information out in a timely manner. This is an unprecedented situation and we’re still developing best practices. Anderson said, “I accept all responsibility for not verifying reporting procedures. We’re immediately instituting measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again. My condolences to the family and friends of the person who passed away and our apologies for any undue anxiety this caused.” 

Swabs from the person were submitted to the state laboratories two days after the person died. They’d originally been tested by a private clinical laboratory with inconclusive results.

Hawaii DOH COVID-19 Daily Update

March 17, 2020:

There is a current shortage of hand sanitizers and toilet paper in Hawai‘i in part because of the public’s over-reaction to COVID-19. The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) wants to avoid having the same shortage of COVID-19 test resources by making sure the public understands how to properly utilize the newly established screening sites.

Test kit

If people who are well or experiencing mild flu-like symptoms go to the screening sites, there potentially may be insufficient testing supplies for those who critically need the tests, including older adults and those with existing health conditions.

The public should heed the following steps:

  • First, contact your healthcare provider in advance to determine if you need to have an in-person visit with your provider.
  • Your provider will determine over the phone whether you meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing.
  • If your provider directs you to come in for a screening, bring a photo ID and insurance card.
  • Your provider will take a swab for testing.
  • The specimen will be sent to a private or state lab for the results. During this time, you are expected to self-quarantine at home until the test results are available, which could be up to 3 to 4 days.
  • If you are healthy or experiencing mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, DOH urges you to stay at home and avoid an unnecessary visit to a screening site. The screening sites are only for those who are severely ill with COVID-19 symptoms.

Postpone or Cancel In-Person Events

The Hawai‘i Department of Health recommends postponing or canceling in-person events involving 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. Consider using technology to hold virtual meetings or other means when feasible. It is important to note these are recommendations to encourage best practices for social distancing; not mandates. Businesses and organizations have the option to hold group events and meetings at their own discretion, keeping in mind that attendees should be two-arms-length or six feet apart when possible. Seniors and those with underlying health conditions who are at a greater risk for COVID-19 or respiratory illnesses should avoid attending public gatherings altogether.

Cruise Ship Being Rerouted

The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) Harbors Division and the U.S. Coast Guard are continuing coordination with Holland America Line’s Maasdam cruise ship, which is on its way to Hawai‘i. Initially, the Maasdam had a port call for Hilo, however that reservation has been canceled. HDOT is currently working to direct the ship to Honolulu Harbor so that disembarking passengers will have various flight options for departure out of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL). To date, there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 associated with the ship. It is important to note that the Maasdam will have been at sea longer than the 14-day incubation period prior to arriving in the Hawaiian Islands. Prior to port, all ships are required to call in advance with information on any symptomatic passengers. If there are concerns about passengers who are ill, the ship will be held out

of port.

2-1-1 Call Center for Information on COVID-19

The Aloha United Way call center is open daily between 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

For information or questions about COVID-19:

Four New Cases of COVID-19 Identified on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island

As of 2:00 p.m. on March 17, 2020 there is a total of 14 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i. Four new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were identified: Two on O‘ahu, one on Hawai‘i Island and one on Maui. DOH is gathering more information on these cases.

COVID-19 Summary of Numbers as of March 17, 2020 at 2:00 pm (updated as new information becomes available)

Number of Confirmed or Presumptive Positive Case(s)* 14

Number of Persons Under Investigation (current, testing pending) 12

Number of Negative Test Results 93

Number of Person Self-Monitoring with DOH supervision 9

The 9 individuals who are self-monitoring with public health supervision are all on O‘ahu. These numbers fluctuate often as travelers arrive, depart, or begin and end their self-monitoring with supervision by DOH.

Confirmed: Meets CDC criteria and positive test result received from a certified laboratory such as the DOH State Laboratories Division.

*The CDC has advised states that respiratory samples positive for SARS-CoV2 in a state and public-health laboratory will be considered “positive” with no need for further testing.

Presumptive Positive: Positive test results from a private laboratory requiring confirmation by a state public health laboratory.

Persons Under Investigation (PUI): Meets CDC criteria for investigation and testing pending.

Monitoring: Individuals voluntarily remain at home and refrain from work, school, gathering places, and public transit. They communicate daily with Department of Health staff.

Job Seekers Invited to 4th Annual Job Fair & Job Readiness Workshop

The Hawai‘i County Workforce Development Board is pleased to invite job seekers to attend its 4th Annual Job Fair and Job Readiness Workshop, hosted by the Big Island Workplace Connection (BIWC), a proud partner of the American Job Center.The Job Readiness Workshop: Assists participants to prepare for the job fair by offering guidance on resume writing, interviewing skills, properly completing an application and instruction on dressing for success. For easy access and portability of new and updated resumes, participants will need to provide their own jump drive.

  • When: Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Where: Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale, 799 Pi`ilani Street, Hilo.

The 4th Annual Job Fair: Will host over 80 island-wide businesses looking for employees to fill vacancies.  Participants should come prepared with resumes and in professional attire, as interviews may be done on site.  Many participating businesses will be offering door prizes.

  • When: Thursday, October 26, 2017, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Where: Edith Kanakaʻole Tennis Stadium

These events are free and open to the public.  For more information, please call Office of Housing and Community Development at 961-8379.

Criminal Pretrial Task Force Public Meeting Announcement

The Criminal Pretrial Task Force will be holding a public meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, October 13, at Aliiolani Hale, 417 South King Street, room 101 on the first floor.

The purpose of the meeting is to gather input from individuals and interested organizations about criminal pretrial practices and procedures.

“We want to ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to provide feedback to the task force,” said Judge Rom A. Trader, chair of the task force. “For example, we want to know if the current pretrial system is working. What needs to be done to improve it? What features would a highly-functioning and fair pretrial system have?

“We also welcome thoughts or suggestions relating to criminal pretrial reform for the task force’s consideration as it develops recommendations to the Legislature,” Judge Trader added.

House Concurrent Resolution No. 134, HD1 was adopted by the 2017 Legislature and requested the Judiciary to convene a task force to examine and, as needed, recommend legislation and revisions to criminal pretrial practices and procedures to increase public safety while maximizing pretrial release of those who do not pose a danger or a flight risk. The task force is also charged with identifying and defining best practices and metrics to measure the relative effectiveness of the criminal pretrial system, and establish ongoing procedures to take such measurements at appropriate time intervals.

Members of the task force represent a broad cross section of agencies who participate in the criminal justice system in different ways.

For those who are unable to attend the meeting, comments may be sent to  HCR134.Jud@courts.hawaii.gov by 5 p.m. on Friday, October 13. Include your name, contact information, and affiliation.

Anyone needing auxiliary aids or services to participate in this meeting (i.e., ASL, foreign language interpreter or wheelchair accessibility) should contact the Judiciary Legislative Coordinating Office at 539-4893 at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

Hawaii Launches New Online Workforce Tax Credit Application

Tax Credits for Hiring Vets Can Be Just a Click Away

Businesses applying for tax credits for hiring veterans and others can now do it online the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced. The Workforce Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal program that makes tax credits available to employers who hire veterans and individuals with significant barriers to employment.

“Making these requests available online is part of my effort to make government more effective and efficient while also facilitating the employment of our veterans and other job seekers,” said Gov. Ige. “I especially appreciate the department using special federal grant monies to develop the eApplication without State funds.”

Using the WOTC eApplication service, employers fill out online forms and their requests are immediately entered in to the processing queue. The WOTC eApplication also centralizes the processing of requests and serves as a repository for supporting documentation, all of which results in improved efficiency in processing.

“The department receives nearly 400 certification requests a month for the tax credit,” said DLIR Director Linda Chu Takayama. “This service enables employers to monitor the status of their requests via a personalized dashboard, which is a level of service we could not provide before.”

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) Workforce Development Division developed the WOTC eApplication service as part of the eHawaii.gov State Portal Program (portal.ehawaii.gov). The department strongly recommends that employers use the new electronic system, but anticipates lag time before the federal government updates its website. Businesses seeking to use the new system may inquire through the following methods:

Email: dlir.workforce.develpment@hawaii.gov
Phone: (808) 686-8877
Mail: Workforce Development Division
Rm 112
830 Punchbowl St
Honolulu, HI 96813

About the Workforce Development Division
Workforce Development Division (WDD) is a customer-driven workforce development system that assists job seekers, workers and industries. WDD provides a free referral and placement service that links qualified job seekers with employers. WDD also strives to develop and maintain various partnerships with the private sector to identify emerging employment trends, technological advances, declining industries and economic issues. The division develops grant proposals in coordination with other agencies to carry out employment and training program activities and services.

Governor Ige Marks Family Assessment Center’s First Anniversary, Outlines Progress on Homelessness

Gov. David Ige today highlighted the state’s overall progress in addressing homelessness while recognizing the first anniversary of the state’s Family Assessment Center (FAC).

The FAC temporarily houses homeless families while they are being connected to services and long-term housing with the assistance of specialists from Catholic Charities Hawai‘i. More than 90 percent of families who have stayed at the FAC and have left the facility over the past year, have been housed, or 35 families out of 38 families serviced. In addition, the average time from intake to placement is 82 days ­– eight days fewer than the 90-day goal the state previously set.

Gov. Ige also said the FAC reflects the state’s overall gains on homelessness, pointing to a nine percent overall decrease in homelessness between 2016-17 – the first decrease in eight years – and a 19 percent reduction in family homelessness.

“The Family Assessment Center is a game-changer that is making a difference in the lives of unsheltered families and helping to provide the stability they need to improve their lives,” Gov. Ige said.

The success of the FAC illustrates the ʻOhana Nui approach, which includes a focus on the whole family; a priority on children, particularly those between infancy and age 5; and collaboration to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.

“The Department of Human Services is proud to work hand-in-hand with the Governor’s Coordinator and Catholic Charities on long-term solutions to end homelessness,” said DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot. “The Family Assessment Center is a testament to the power of generative partnerships and a focus on connecting families to an array of services suited to their needs. We see that when we can work together to meet families where they are, families can thrive and not just survive.”

The FAC, which is operated by Catholic Charities Hawai‘i, is modeled after housing navigation centers in San Francisco.  Its small population – no more than 50 people, or 12-15 households at a time – enables more individualized care. Guests are not required to have identification, which is a key obstacle for many people experiencing homelessness.  Families are quickly transitioned to permanent housing or other appropriate services in 90 days or less. The facility opened on September 26, 2016.