Hawaii Arrivals By Air Down to 906

Today is the first day of the state’s expanded 14-day mandatory self-quarantine, which now includes interisland travelers.

Up until yesterday, March 31st, that order only applied to those arriving from out of state.

This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday and does not include interisland travel.

Yesterday was the sixth day since the state’s 14-day mandatory self-quarantine started.

Yesterday, 906 people arrived in Hawaii, and of that number, 161 people were visitors. Most of the passengers were either returning residents or crew members.

In comparison, during this same time last year, more than 30,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily, including residents and visitors.

Hawaii National Guard Ready for COVID-19 Response

The rise in positive COVID-19 cases in Hawaii has prompted the partial activation of the Hawaii National Guard to stand ready to lend their support to their community.

Airmen with Medical Detachment 1 (Med Det 1), Hawaii Air National Guard (HIANG) monitored guardsmen on State Active Duty orders (SAD) during an unprecedented health crisis carrying out daily temperature screenings and health surveys.

On March 23, Soldiers with the Hawaii Army National Guard reported for their first day of duty where they received a medical screening from the comfort of their personal vehicles.“

Our guardsmen were activated to help with the state response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Air Force Capt. Jeremy Wong, all-hazards triage response chief with Med Det 1 and ER trauma nurse at Queens Medical Center. “Our job is to make sure that they’re gonna be healthy and remain healthy for the duration of their deployment.”

Soldiers completed a health survey disclosing their age, medical history, and if they had traveled recently. They were also screened for COVID-19 symptoms which can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath appearing in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

The information collected from the medical screenings was used to establish a baseline of those Soldiers who may be at a higher risk for exposure and infection now sequestering.

Currently, a vaccine is not available for COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Airman First Class Jolene Chun, a medical technician with Med Det 1 and as a civilian, a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), expressed the importance of stopping the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing, remembering to wash hands often, and looking out for new CDC updates.

“If we’re all monitoring each other and the Soldiers that we’re looking out for,” said Chun. “We could quickly isolate any incident that could happen if it were to get worse.”

Although isolated from the general public, Soldiers are allowed limited interaction with visiting relatives for the purpose of receiving care packages and other goods. While on mission they continue to maintain their mental and physical well-being.

Army Sgt. Shane Seggar, Troop B, 1st Squadron, 299th Cavalry Regiment, is among fellow Soldiers that are training and preparing for the order that calls them into action.

“It’s been good for us. It’s given us a chance to train our guys on stuff we don’t have time to do during IDT (drill weekends),” said Seggar. “We’re teaching classes on Calvary skills. Doing physical training twice a day. They’re all excited to be able to serve their community. That’s why most of these guys signed up and when we get called up, we’ll be ready to go.”

Seggar explained that daily screenings help them keep track of their health and lets them know that they haven’t contracted the virus from the community or each other.

Senior Airman Nicklaus Young, a medical technician with Med Det 1 came on SAD orders temporarily leaving his post as an emergency room technician at Queens Medical Center. He has experienced the influx of people wanting COVID-19 testing, the need for more medical supplies, and the trauma of day-to-day medical patients.

“It is hard because we do run short and it is tough that I am not able to help them,” said Young. “Being in the guard, I do have a duty right now, for my fellow Soldiers and Airmen, doing their screenings making sure they’re fit to fight! And with that, I am relieved to know that I am (still) helping my community in this way.”

Guidance for Homeowners & Renters

The Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) is providing answers to the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) to assist homeowners and renters and with inquiries regarding the Landlord-Tenant code.

This FAQ along with more information regarding the Hawai‘i Landlord-Tenant code is available at https://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/landlordtenant/.

Landlord Tenant FAQs

Governor David Ige’s recent emergency proclamations concerning the coronavirus invoked special legal requirements applicable to Landlords and Tenants in Hawai‘i.  

The Office of Consumer Protection has created FAQs pertaining to how these provisions impact their legal relationship.  The guidance provided is current as of March 31, 2020 and may be subject to change per actions taken at the state and/or federal level.

I’m current on my rent, but my Landlord has informed me that I must vacate; can they do this?

No. Unless there is a material breach of the lease or the premises are unfit for occupancy, a Landlord cannot currently require you to move. Governor David Ige’s State of Emergency Proclamation(s) automatically activates the provisions of section 127A-30(2) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, which states, that “no Landlord shall terminate any tenancy for a residential dwelling unit in the area that is the subject of the proclamation…except for a breach of a material term of a rental agreement or lease, or if the unit is unfit for occupancy”. 

How long will the special provisions of section 127A-30(2) remain in effect?

A state of emergency terminates automatically sixty days after the issuance of a proclamation of a state of emergency or by a separate proclamation of the governor, whichever occurs first. The date of termination may be extended by a new proclamation.

Do I still have to pay my rent?

Yes. You are still legally obligated to pay your rent.

What if I can’t pay my rent?

You should inform your Landlord if you are unable to pay your rent and explain why. Renters are advised to contact their landlords as soon as they can to talk through delayed or partial payment options.

Can the Landlord evict me if I don’t pay my rent?

Currently, the Hawaii Judiciary has issued several orders that impact the ability of Landlords and their agents to use legal process to evict a Tenant for non-payment of rent. The Judiciary has stated that legal proceedings relating to summary possession or eviction have been postponed to at least April 30, 2020. What this means is that absent extraordinary circumstances, no eviction orders will be issued until at least after April 30, 2020.

I have already been served with an eviction notice; can I be evicted?

If the eviction notice was validly issued by the court you may be subject to an eviction, however, the Sheriff’s Division of the Department of Public Safety, which often assists Landlords with the lawful removal of Tenants and their possessions, has stated that it will not be assisting anyone in the eviction process until further notice.

What if I have a Tenant who is dangerous, or is engaging in illegal activity?

Under these circumstances, a Landlord may go to court to seek relief, including petitioning the court for an order allowing for the lawful removal of the Tenant.

How do I go to court to try to get a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)?

Petitions for Temporary Restraining Orders may be filed at the State District Court Courthouse.
Please see the following link for information related to the district court in your jurisdiction: https://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/files/2020/03/Courthouses-Info-3.30.2020.pdf

Are the provisions of the Landlord Tenant Code still in effect?

Thus far, the Landlord Tenant Code has not been suspended by any of the Proclamations issued by the Governor.

Can a Landlord raise my rent?

No. Pursuant to section 127A-30 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes a Landlord is prohibited from increasing rent during the period of the state of emergency declared by the Governor.

Is a notice to increase rent before the issuance of the Proclamation still valid?

In the case of a residential dwelling unit, if rent increases were contained in a written instrument, such as, a lease, that was signed by the Tenant prior to the Proclamation, the increases may take place pursuant to the written instrument.

What if my rental is subject to a federal housing program?

These rentals are subject to federal jurisdiction.

Until July 26, 2020, property owners are prohibited from filing for eviction against or charging any fees for unpaid rent and fees to a tenant in properties with federally guaranteed loans or participating in federal housing programs.  Property owners must also issue a notice to tenants to vacate 30 days before an eviction and the notice to vacate cannot be issued during this 120-day period.

This protection covers properties that receive federal subsidies such as public housing, Section 8 assistance, USDA rural housing programs, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, as well as properties that have a mortgage issued or guaranteed by a federal agency (including FHA and USDA) or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Additionally, owners of multifamily buildings with federal loans in forbearance may not evict tenants for unpaid rent or charge late fees or penalties until the loan exits forbearance.

Renters seeking information on whether they are covered by the moratorium should contact Legal Aid Society of Hawaii or a HUD approved housing counselor.  You can find the nearest housing counselor here https://www.consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor/ or by calling (800) 569-4287.

Handbook Helps Residents Prepare for Natural Hazards

While families continue to shelter in place in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of keeping your home safe remains a priority.

The newly updated Homeowner’s Handbook To Prepare For Natural Hazards 4th edition, published by the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program (Hawai‘i Sea Grant) and available free of charge, provides detailed information on how to prepare your family and your home for a hurricane or other natural hazards.  

For the family, key tips for emergency supplies, evacuation planning and ways to reduce the impacts from climate change (including heat, drought, infectious disease, wildfires and sea-level rise) are now included.

For the home, the handbook outlines new retrofit best practices for single-wall and double-wall houses, roofs, windows, post and pier foundations, garage doors and much more.  

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said, “It is important families always have their emergency plans and supplies, including extra medicine as well as 14 days of food and water. The handbook provides helpful tips so people can slowly gather their supplies for the long-term, without placing a burden on vendors or creating shortages in the community. With more people staying at home, we encourage people to stay active by working on their health and on projects to strengthen the home found in the handbook.”

The handbook has now gone through 10 print runs and has been modified for 12 states and countries. Almost 2,500 houses have been retrofitted in Hawai‘i since the first printing in 2007.  

“We would like to thank the 35 government and private partners that supported the handbook, many from the very beginning. We are extremely appreciative of their contributions that have helped the community,” said Darren T. Lerner, director of Hawai‘i Sea Grant. 

Copies of the new handbook can be downloaded online and printed copies will be available and accessible at the Hawai‘i Sea Grant office when UH Mānoa resumes normal operations. 

Reserve a copy today by contacting Hawai‘i Sea Grant at seagrant@hawaii.edu or call (808) 956-7031.

Video Released in Lahaina Substation Burglary

Hawaiian Electric’s Maui County operations released surveillance images of a man who broke into its Lahaina Substation along Lahainaluna Road on Friday, March 27 around 7:20 p.m.

The man can be seen on the video stealing a 2013 dark green and black 6-seater Polaris Ranger (diesel fuel) and black custom 2-wheel trailer.

Anyone who can identify the individual depicted in the accompanying surveillance images or anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Maui Crime Stoppers at (808) 242-6966.

Committee Requests Ige to Put Health Alert Network System Into Place

In a letter dated March 31, 2020 addressed to Governor David Ige, the members of the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 requested that his administration and the Department of Health “put in place as soon as possible a public health alert network system to provide critical information and reminders about COVID-19.”

The Special Committee feels that more aggressive messaging to the public is needed as the rules and guidelines for social distancing and sheltering-in-place are not being seriously followed in light of the alarming growth of the pandemic in the U.S.

Text alert systems have been implemented in two counties in Southern California, San Diego and Los Angeles. “Public Safety Alerts are critical to remind both residents and visitors that in order to save lives, stay home,” the letter to the Governor reads. “This includes reminding everyone that beaches, trails, recreation areas, and other public spaces are closed. Social distancing is one of the few tools currently available to fight the spread of the virus.”

The Special Committee points out in the letter that South Korea officials found that emergency texts sent three to five times a day were effective in reducing community spread, as the text messages detailed exact locations and movements of people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Regular reminders and instructions were also sent out early on on how to prevent the virus from spreading, with instructions on social distancing, hand washing, coughing etiquette, and how to care for seniors.

Because of those efforts, South Korea has managed to significantly slow the number of new cases and “flattened the curve.”

Also in the letter, the Special Committee asks that Governor Ige — including the Department of Health and other appropriate members of his administration — to schedule a daily briefing to provide the public with information on COVID-19. “This will help in assuring that the community is receiving the same information on a timely basis.

“The committee requests a response on the strategy and timeline to establish this text alert system and the confirmation on scheduling a daily public briefing by 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 1,” with the Special Committee’s emphasis on timeliness in bold.

The letter is signed by Senate Special Committee members Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, Senator Jarrett Keohokalole, Senator Michelle Kidani, Senator Donna Mercado Kim, Senator Sharon Moriwaki, and Senator Kurt Fevella.

Hawaii Supreme Court Postpones Bar Exam

The Hawaii Supreme Court today announced that the Hawaii bar examination will not be administered on July 28-29, 2020 as originally scheduled. This decision was made due to the ongoing public health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and upon consultation with the Hawaii Board of Bar Examiners. A copy of the order can be found below.

The bar exam has been postponed until the fall, on dates to be determined.

The deadline for the application for this exam has been extended from April 1, 2020 to May 1, 2020.

Please visit the Judiciary’s COVID-19 Information page for the latest news on how it is responding to the pandemic.

Hawaiian Airlines to Support Medical Workers with Free Neighbor Island Flights

Hawaiian Airlines will provide complimentary Neighbor Island flights for medical professionals during the month of April to support travel associated with COVID-19 response efforts. The airline is partnering with Hawai‘i’s leading healthcare providers to maintain and facilitate the delivery of critical medical services to communities statewide.

Partner organizations include the Hawaii Emergency Physicians Associated (HEPA), The Queen’s Health Systems, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, Hawai‘i Pacific Health, and Diagnostic Laboratory Services Inc.

Hawaiian today also announced a new flight schedule designed to provide vital Neighbor Island connectivity in April, during the state of Hawai‘i’s 14-day self-quarantine requirement for interisland passengers, except for those considered by the government to be traveling for essential work or needs.

“This virus has presented an unprecedented test for all of us who call Hawai‘i home, and we are glad to be able to support the exceptional and important work our medical providers are carrying out across our islands each day to meet our state’s healthcare needs and help us overcome this challenge,” said Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram.

“Mahalo to Hawaiian Airlines for your leadership and support during this critical time,” said Jill Hoggard Green, president and CEO, The Queen’s Health Systems. “This extraordinary gesture of aloha will allow our physicians, nurses and staff to continue to provide essential, innovative and compassionate care where it is needed most, and to help our communities stay safe.”

“The doctors of Hawaii Emergency Physicians Associated appreciate Hawaiian Airlines facilitating us travelling to Critical Access Hospitals across the state and particularly to isolated communities on Moloka‘i and Kaua‘i,” said HEPA President Dr. Craig Thomas and Vice President of Operations Dr. Katherine Heinzen Jim, whose physician-owned group consists of 100-plus board-certified physicians. “Without your kōkua we would be unable to care for our communities. Mahalo nui loa.”

Effective April 4, Hawaiian will be providing a total of 16 daily roundtrip flights with Boeing 717 aircraft between Honolulu (HNL) on O‘ahu and Hilo (ITO) and Kona (KOA) on the Island of Hawai‘i, Kahului (OGG) on Maui, and Līhu‘e (LIH) on Kaua‘i. For travelers not originating in or bound for O‘ahu, the schedule was carefully created to offer three daily roundtrips via HNL to all Neighbor Islands. 

The airline will also keep serving both Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i from Honolulu with ATR-42 aircraft operated by ‘Ohana by Hawaiian, which is also providing all-cargo service with ATR-72 aircraft carrying critical goods statewide.

Details on Hawaiian’s revised schedule are available here.

In the meantime, Hawaiian has suspended service between HNL and Pago Pago (PPG) for at least 30 days at the request of the American Samoan government which is seeking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The airline, which is pausing once-weekly service through at least April 23, remains in close contact with the U.S. territory and stands ready to resume flights as soon as permitted to do so.

For more information about how Hawaiian is supporting travelers and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the carrier’s COVID-19 hub.

Gov. Ige Signs Fourth Supplementary Proclamation

Additional Details on Interisland Travel Restrictions

Gov. David Ige today signed a fourth supplementary proclamation that requires all residents and visitors traveling between any of the islands in the State of Hawai‘i to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Those who must travel to perform an essential function, including those providing and seeking medical care, will have to fill out and sign an Interisland Declaration Form, wear appropriate protective gear – primarily masks, and follow all social distancing requirements.

The quarantine mandate takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wed., Apr. 1. Violations of this order could result in a misdemeanor with fines of up to $5,000 and/or up to one year in prison, or both. If you have questions about whether your travel is essential, please e-mail CovidExemption@hawaii.gov.

Governor Ige Extends Condolences to Family of First COVID-19 Patient

An older adult O‘ahu resident, who was hospitalized with multiple medical issues, is the first person in Hawai‘i diagnosed with COVID-19 to die. Gov. Ige, Lt. Gov. Josh Green, State Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson, and Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency Director Kenneth Hara all expressed sorrow for the loss of one of Hawai‘i’s kupuna and offered their condolences to the family. The exact cause of  death has not been determined.

Municipal Golf Course in Hilo Closed Until Further Notice

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation announced on Tuesday that amid the COVID-19 pandemic the Hilo Municipal Golf Course will be closed until further notice, effective on April 1.

Golf Course staff will continue to work throughout this closure period maintaining and improving the golf course for when it reopens for play.

“The purpose for this closure is manifold, but primarily addresses public and personnel safety issues that have surfaced while we accommodated the continued play of golf over the first six days of Governor Ige’s Stay-At-Home order,” said Roxcie Waltjen, Director of Parks and Recreation.

“We will continually assess the appropriate date for reopening of the facility along with any modified policies that must be implemented in order to do so safely and responsibly for all those impacted” Waltjen said.

Additionally, the golf pro shop and driving range at the course will be closed until further notice effective April 1. The restaurant at the course was closed indefinitely on March 25.

For further information, contact the Hilo Municipal Golf Course starters office at (808) 959-7711.

Visitors No Longer Allowed at NHCH

To ensure a healthy and safe environment for patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, no visitors are allowed at Queen’s North Hawai’i Community Hospital until further notice.

Limited exceptions may be made in certain situations such as pediatric or maternity patients and end-of- life care; additional screening will be required.

Friends and family members are asked to consider using technology to stay connected and offer support remotely. Free Wi-Fi is available for all patients and phones are available in all patient rooms. Call the hospital operator at 885-4444 to be connected to a patient room.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this visitation restriction may cause. This is a very important way to limit the risk of possible exposure to COVID-19 for our patients, staff and community. We know that visitors and loved ones play an essential role as partners in healing and wellness. The visitation restriction will be reevaluated daily and removed as soon as conditions allow.

Hele-On Working With Robert’s

According to the Hele-On website, effective Wednesday, April 1, 2020, Hele-On drivers will be contracted through Robert’s Hawaii on at least some routes.  

The following transit routes will be conducted with Robert’s Hawaii vehicles:  

  • Intra Kona 1, 2, 3
  • N. Kohala to S. Kohala Resorts
  • N. Kohala to Waimea to Kona 
  • Kau to Hilo
  • 03:30 Pahala to S. Kohala Resorts
  • 05:40 Pahala to Kona
  • 08:00 Pahala to S. Kohala Resorts
  • 05:45 Kona to Hilo
  • Kau to Oceanview Extension
  • 04:15, 11:15 & 7:15 pm Hilo to S. Kohala Resorts

 For more information, contact the transit office at (808) 961-8744

Puna Hui Donates Masks to Hilo Medical Center

A small neighborhood group in the Puna District of the Big Island of Hawaii, has donated hundreds of surgical masks to the emergency room at the Hilo Medical Center (HMC).

The “Pahoa Mask Mission Hui,” founded by a group of three residents in the Kalapana Seaview neighborhood, collected and donated 60 N-95 masks and close to 400 hand-made masks. The Hui is led by Annie Stiefel, Bob Kirk and Mary Rose Love.

When delivering the masks, retired nurse Mary Rose Love, reported that the staff were “absolutely delighted.”  A security guard asked for a size large mask and as it was handed to him, he exclaimed, “this is my lucky day!”

Hawaii is just now seeing a surge in coronavirus cases. The state is weeks behind the mainland but has seen daily increases of 10% cases or more per day, with the current count at over 224 cases as of March 31 (15 on Hawaii Island). With only 11 critical care beds, HMC provides care to a population of over 40,000 people. It could easily be overwhelmed. 

According to Stiefel, on Friday, March 20th, she saw the Corona Virus Deaconess news article asking the public to sew masks for hospitals. “A friend who is an ER nurse at HMC messaged me that they indeed need them and would be so grateful for them, which really spurred me on.”

“I posted it on my FB page asking ‘who has a sewing machine and wants to help? I started organizing and gathering supplies that day and asking neighbors and friends to help,” said Steifel. “Everyday I’ve been getting more volunteers. There are a dozen of us now. The Mask Mission Hui!” 

Some have donated money or materials, some precut the fabric and some sew. “In our first week we delivered 430 masks to HMC (60 were new store-bought masks that people had left from the lava flow of 2018), each a labor of love and caring,” said Stiefel. “Each of us are sleeping a little better at night knowing we are doing something to help.”

“We gave 5 masks to a family that has one member that has been tested but they are awaiting results; they have isolated that one person within their home, so they are using masks and gloves within their own home,” said Love. “And, we gave three to the Seaview FedEx delivery person who feels much more comfortable with her work conditions now.”

For more information or if you would like to contribute to the Puna Mask Mission Hui, contact Annie Stiefel at Anniesands@gmail.com.

Letter to Trump: Stop Non-Essential Travel to Hawaii

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is asking other Hawaii county mayors as well as Governor Ige to sign a letter to President Trump asking to stop all non-essential travel into Hawaii until the end of April.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority reports that the number of passengers flying into Hawaii continues to drop.

Yesterday, 681 people arrived in Hawaii on the fifth day of the state’s 14-day mandatory self-quarantine for all incoming passengers. Of that number, 121 people were visitors.

Most of the passengers were either returning residents or crew members. In comparison, during this same time last year, more than 30,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily, including residents and visitors.

This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state on March 30th.

Fostering & Adopting Continues at HIHS

The community response to Hawaii Island Humane Society’s call for additional fosters has been incredible. Last week alone, 83 pets went to a foster home with an additional 41 pets adopted. Fostering is critical to Hawaii Island Humane Society’s lifesaving efforts by allowing more space in the shelters and additional room to hold incoming animals. 

HIHS Animal Care Technician Brendan Souza carries Brax to meet his new foster mom in the parking lot. HIHS is doing drive-up pick-ups for fosters and adopters to promote social distancing. PC: Lauren Nickerson.

Fostering is a rewarding experience that gives pets the chance to enjoy life in a home environment. Research by Maddie’s Fund has shown that even a short time in a foster home can decrease stress, improve behaviors and increase adoptability. Foster caregivers provide the Hawaii Island Humane Society (HIHS) with important information about their foster pet allowing to better promote them for adoption and match them with forever families. 

“Our shelters are fully staffed and we continue to care for the animals during this community crisis. While the community response has been wonderful so far, we continue to need more fosters. Hawaii Island Humane Society will provide the supplies as donations allow, medical care, support and education for foster caregivers. You supply the love,” said HIHS Community Program Director Lauren Nickerson.

Foster to Adopt Program

The greatest need today is for fosters who can care for medium and large adult dogs but with kitten season coming, HIHS will have an increasing need for kitten fosters.  

Unfortunately, with today’s shelter in place guidelines, Hawaii Island Humane Society is not able to permit the public into its shelters and browse the selection of adoptable pets. All adoptable pets are now available online at www.hihs.org

To enhance the bond between human and animals and to connect adoptable pets with loving, forever homes, community members will have up to 2 weeks to foster a pet and get to know them in the comfort of their homes. 

To sign up on the Foster to Adopt program go to http://hihs.org/adoption/item/adoption-during-covid-19

If you would like to help but cannot foster or adopt, the Hawaii Island Humane Society is accepting donations of new, unopened bags of dry dog, cat, kitten and puppy food to support our community in this time of need. Donations can be dropped off at any one of 3 shelter locations in Keaau, Waimea and Kona. Community members can contribute by also shopping on HIHS’s Amazon Wishlist found at hihs.org

Colmenares Jr., Appointed as Administrator of State Health Planning & Development Agency

Gov. David Ige has appointed Serafin “Jun” Colmenares Jr. as the administrator of the State Health Planning & Development Agency (SHPDA). Previously, Colmenares Jr. was the acting administrator for the agency and concurrently serving as SHPDA Comprehensive Health Planning Coordinator, in which he provided staffing for health planning councils in West Oahu, Windward Oahu, Kauai and Maui.

Serafin “Jun” Colmenares Jr.

As administrator, Colmenares oversees the State’s Certificate of Need (CON) program which regulates the construction, expansion, initiation or modification of a health care facility or services in the State of Hawaii. In addition, he has oversight of the State’s Health Services and Facilities Plan which addresses the health care needs of the State including inpatient care, healthcare facilities and special needs. The plan reflects the most economical and efficient system of care commensurate with adequate qualify of care and includes standards for utilization of health care facilities and major medical equipment.

“Jun’s expertise and wealth of experience in public health planning is a welcome addition to the Department of Health,” said Bruce Anderson, health director. “His experience in capacity building and community collaboration will be highly beneficial for enhancing the health care needs of our island community.”

Under his direction, SHPDA is also responsible for collecting health care utilization data from providers across the State which is produced into an annual Utilization Report.  The report is used as a tool to assess health care services utilization, trends, needs, and costs by Certificate of Need (CON) applicants, providers, health market analysts, economists, researchers, etc.

Colmenares Jr. holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in addition to master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Delhi in India. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a graduate certificate in governmental management from Mindanao State University in the Philippines.

Prior to joining SHPDA, Colmenares Jr. established and served as executive director of the Office of Language Access between 2007 and 2015. During that time, he earned the 2013 William J. Harris Equal Opportunity Award from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, for achieving a national standard of excellence in the development and implementation of an effective equal opportunity program in Hawaii.

Colmenares Jr. has also held positions at the Executive Office on Aging, Hawaii Community Foundation, Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) and East West Center Population Institute.

The State Health Planning and Development Agency (SHPDA) promotes accessibility for all the people of the State of Hawaii to quality health care services at reasonable cost.  SHPDA supports the most economical and efficient use of the health care system and resources through coordinated community planning of new health care services and construction.  For more information, visithttps://health.hawaii.gov/shpda/.

Hawaii Visitor Statistics Released for February 2020

In February 2020, flight cancellations to the Hawaiian Islands began due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The China market had the greatest impact during February with direct air service suspended on February 3 due to a travel ban on Chinese citizens to the U.S. However, overall visitor spending was up.

Total spending by visitors in the Hawaiian Islands increased to $1.46 billion (+4.6%) in February 2020, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. This represented an average of $50.3 million per day, an increase of 1.0 percent compared to February 2019. The average daily census1 showed 250,052 total visitors in Hawaii on any given day in February, which was slightly higher (+0.5%) compared to a year ago. Most visitors arrived by air service (+0.4%, 247,493 visitors per day) and some traveled by cruise ships (+9.3%, 2,558 visitors per day).

For visitors arriving by air, U.S. West spending (+9.7% to $19.8 million per day) and the average daily census (+7.7% to 105,233 visitors per day) increased in February, compared to a year ago. U.S. East visitor spending (+8.6% to $14.4 million per day) and the average daily census (+4.3% to 65,827 visitors per day) also rose in February year-over-year.

Japan visitor spending (-2.9% to $5.7 million per day) and the average daily census declined (-4.1% to 23,395 visitors per day) in February, versus a year ago. Canada visitor spending (-7.3% to $5.0 million per day) and the average daily census (-7.0% to 27,223 visitors per day) also declined. Combined spending by visitors from All Other markets (-26.2% to $5.3 million per day) and the average daily census (-19.3% to 25,815 visitors per day) decreased as well.

Total air seats to the Hawaiian Islands increased in February (+9.5% to 1,107,405), with the daily average also up (+5.8% to 38,186 seats per day) compared to a year ago. Growth in average daily scheduled air seats from U.S. East (+18.9% 3,739 seats per day) and U.S. West (+11.4%, 23,536 seats per day) offset decreases from Other Asia (-30.1% to 1,095 seats per day), Oceania (-13.3% to 1,070 seats per day), Canada (-9.3% to 2,126 seats per day) and Japan (-1.2% to 5,581 seats per day).

Other Highlights:

U.S. West: In February, visitor arrivals from the Pacific and Mountain regions increased, with the mix of visitors (Pacific region 79.9%, and Mountain region 20.1% of total U.S. West) similar to a year ago.
Through the first two months of 2020, visitor arrivals grew from both the Pacific and Mountain regions. Year-to-date, per person per day visitor spending increased to $187 (+2.6%). Lodging, shopping, and food and beverage expenses were higher, while transportation, and entertainment and recreation expenses were about the same compared to the first two months of 2019.

U.S. East: All U.S. East regions in February showed growth in visitor arrivals compared to a year ago. The mix of visitors was also consistent with February 2019. The two largest regions continued to be East North Central (23.9% of U.S. East) and South Atlantic (19% of U.S. East).
Through the first two months of 2020, every region recorded increased visitor arrivals. Per person per day visitor spending of $223 was up (+3.7%) compared to a year ago. Lodging and transportation expenses increased, while shopping, and food and beverage expenses were slightly lower. Entertainment and recreation expenses were similar to a year ago.

Japan: For the first two months of 2020, per person per day visitor spending was up slightly (+1.0% to $241) compared to a year ago. Lodging, food and beverage, transportation, and entertainment and recreation expenses increased, while spending on shopping declined.

Canada: For the first two months of 2020, per person per day visitor spending rose to $179 (+1.1%). Food and beverage, entertainment and recreation, and shopping expenses increased, while lodging and transportation expenses were similar to a year ago.

Hawai‘i to Receive at Least $4 Billion in Federal COVID-19 Relief Funding

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that Hawai‘i is set to receive at least $4 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding.

“Billions of dollars in federal money are on the way,” said Sen. Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This new funding will support state and local response efforts and help Hawai‘i families and businesses struggling to get by.”

Key funding for Hawai‘i includes:

  • $1.25 billion to help fund state and county government response efforts;
  • $1.14 billion in estimated unemployment assistance;
  • $1.24 billion in estimated direct cash payments to Hawai‘i residents;
  • $130 million in estimated funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • $53 million to support local schools and colleges during the pandemic;
  • $11 million for Hawai‘i’s community health centers;
  • $8 million in Community Development Block Grants;

Millions more in federal money for Hawai‘i will go to additional health care, education, public transportation, and housing programs.

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Survey

The National Disaster Preparedness Training Center, supported by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are conducting this brief survey on contact tracing of the COVID-19 in Hawaii. The information will be used to trace the potential spread of the infection. The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete.     

Benefits and Risks:  The results of the survey will help us to identify people who may have been exposed to the COVID-19. There are no direct benefits to the participants from taking this survey. 

Voluntary Participation:  Your participation in this project is voluntary. If you prefer not to answer a question, you may skip that question. If you prefer not to complete the survey, you can close the browser to disregard the survey. 

Privacy and Confidentiality:  At the conclusion of the survey, you will be asked to provide your age, gender, email, and phone number. This information will be available only to the research team to be used in summary form and to check for the representativeness of the sample and the accuracy of the results. All data will be kept confidential and in a secure database. Authorized agencies, including the University of Hawaii Human Studies Program, may review research records but individual records will not be released publicly. The data in summary tables will be used in reports and publications, and shared with the participating organizations and individuals upon request.   

Questions:  If you have questions regarding this survey, please contact the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at 1-808-956-0600, Mr. Eric Yamashita (ericyama@hawaii.edu) or Dr. Jiwnath Ghimire (jiwnath@hawaii.edu).  

You may contact the UH Human Studies Program at 1-808-956-5007 or uhirb@hawaii.edu to discuss the research protocol. For information on your rights as a research participant, please visit https://www.hawaii.edu/researchcompliance/information-research-participants.      

Completion of the survey serves as consent to participate in this study.

Number of Passengers Flying Into Hawaii Continues to Tank

The number of passengers flying into Hawaii continues to drop.

Yesterday, 826 people arrived in Hawaii on the fourth day of the state’s 14-day mandatory self-quarantine for all incoming passengers. Of that number, 167 people were visitors. Most of the passengers were either returning residents or crew members.

In comparison, during this same time last year, more than 30,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily, including residents and visitors.

This table shows the number of people who arrived by air on March 29th.