About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Friday, May 08, 2020

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Friday, May 8, 2020

A healthy reef. The Conservation Reauthorization Act was introduced by Rep. Ed Case today, to update and improve
the national commitment to saving endangered coral reefs. Read more, below. Photo from NOAA

ZERO FOR ALL THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS IS THE NEW COVID-19 CASE COUNT, released today by the state Department of Health. It is the first time since March 13 - eight weeks - there are no new cases statewide. No new deaths were reported since Sunday; the state death toll is 17 since the pandemic began.
     A message from DOH says, "While this is good news, it does not mean, in any way, the end of the COVID-19 crisis. Health officials caution everyone to remain vigilant. Hawaiʻi State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said, "We have seen a steady decline in new cases over the past several weeks. Although today we're at zero, we want to maintain these declines. As businesses reopen, as people become more active and travel more freely, we will inevitably see an increase in cases." Health experts indicate that, while Hawaiʻi is fortunate to have this pause, it should be used to reassess response capacity, preparedness plans, and to ensure the state is ready for a second and potentially larger wave of the disease.
     The DOH points to a particular concern - Hawaiʻi residents resuming travel to the mainland, particularly to COVID-19 hotspots. The epidemiologist explained, "Travel continues to pose a risk for the spread and reintroduction of the coronavirus. This risk is not just posed by visitors. Residents can actually pose a greater risk by unknowingly infecting others. When people travel for entirely appropriate and necessary reasons (work, healthcare, significant family events) they can inadvertently bring the infection home." Park and other health experts say this is why it is critically important for visitors and residents to observe the mandatory traveler 14-day self-quarantine. "It protects our community."
No COVID-19 cases so far in the zip code areas of Volcano, 
Pāhala, and Ocean View. White indicates zero cases, light 
yellow indicates one to five cases. The 96772 area in 
Kaʻū has one case recorded. Map from DOH
     The message emphasizes that Hawaiʻi is not a "me first" culture, but a culture of "we." This philosophy allowed control of the COVID-19 pandemic to this point.
     "Hawaiʻi residents, particularly, respect our kūpuna and others who may be more susceptible to this serious disease."
     For that reason, "the strongest defense we have against future, rapid increases in COVID-19 cases is dependent on everyone's consistent observation of safe practices. Wear a mask when you are outside your home. Wash your hands frequently. Keep a distance of six feet from non-household members. Clean frequently touched surfaces often.  Stay at home when you are sick."
     On Hawaiʻi Island, of 74 COVID-19 victims, 72 are free from isolation. The remainder quarantine at home, monitored by DOH. Only one person stayed in a hospital overnight, and no one died here. Only one case in Kaʻū, in the 96772 zip code, is reported since January.
     In the United States, more than 1.31 million cases have been confirmed, an increase of over 25,000 since yesterday. The number of confirmed recoveries is about 178,000, an increase of over 36,000 since yesterday. The death toll is over 77,925, an increase of nearly 2,000 since yesterday.
     Worldwide, more than 3.92 million COVID-19 cases have been reported. More than 1.3 million recoveries have been reported. The death toll reported is 274,422. However, many countries are unable to give accurate counts of the sick, the dead, and the recovered, and some countries may not be transparent with the true accounting of COVID-19.

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DRIVE-THRU ANTIBODY TESTING BEGAN TODAY on Hawaiʻi Island. The event in Waimea today was the first drive-through COVID-19 antibody testing in the state, according to an announcement from sponsors Hawaiʻi County and Premier Medical Group. The next clinics will be at North Kohala (Kamehameha Park) on Saturday, May 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Hilo (behind the Civic) on Monday, May 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Antibody testing can determine whether a person contracted COVID-19, even if asymptomatic.
     The antibody testing is for those previously identified with COVID-19, and those with high-risk exposures, including healthcare workers, first responders and family members, and those with close contact to known positives. A simple blood draw detects the presence of SARS-Cov2 IgG antibodies for the disease.
     A $43 charge goes to those not covered by medical insurance plans. Those seeking antibody tests are urged to call insurance providers to see if covered.
     People who visit screening clinics must show photo ID. Bring a pen and health insurance cards, although insurance is not required. For further information, call Hawai‘i County Civil Defense at 935-0031.

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Long lines on Hwy 11 into Punaluʻu Bake Shop, when Suisan came to sell their Aloha Packs on Thursday.
Suisan will receive a large grant for its food deliveries. Photo by Nalani Parlin
CHEERING AND ALOHA RANG OUT AT PUNALUʻU BAKE SHOP Thursday, where Aloha Packs from Suisan sold out at discounted prices. Some people waited nearly two hours to take advantage of Aloha Pack deals. The line of cars stretched along Highway 11 from the bakery past Nāʻālehu Elementary.
     As the last cars made it to the front of the line, Suisan employees cheered and rewarded patient customers with shouts of, "You made it!" Punaluʻu Bakery manager Connie Koi and staff gave a free pack of Punaluʻu sweetbread rolls to those in each vehicle.
     Suisan sold frozen food packs that included fryer chicken, pork butt, butter, New York steaks and bags of fries. Add-ons included mayonnaise, pork loins, pork link sausages, chicken nuggets, and onion rings. Suisan brought two large refrigerated trucks of food but supplies dwindled before all customers could buy. However, Suisan continued to alter packs and prices based on the remaining inventory, so that long-waiting customers could still receive a good deal on food. A Suisan representative said the crew will return to Nā'ālehu in the future.
A long line of cars, left; Suisan staff, middle; and Punaluʻu Bake Shop staff, right, yesterday, on the bake shop's property. 
Photo by Nalani Parlin

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HAWAIʻI'S FARMERS AND FOOD DISTRIBUTORS WILL RECEIVE $5.2 MILLION in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide food to families in need. Sen. Mazie Hirono announced today that the funding, distributed under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, is part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program that Congress established in the second coronavirus relief legislation that passed the Senate in March.
Suisan, known for its fish and local foods market, is
also a wholesale food distributor and will receive
more than $600,000 to help feed the needy on
this island. Photo from Suisan
     Hirono said, "Like so many places across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic is driving unprecedented demand for food assistance in Hawaiʻi. The harrowing images we've seen of families lining up for hours to receive food demonstrate the urgency to direct more federal resources to assist those in need. This funding, provided through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, will facilitate the delivery of assistance to food banks and other social service organizations across our state. It will also support the ongoing efforts of our farmers and distributors who have worked hard to adapt to feed individuals and families in our community. I will continue to advocate for this program and other crucial initiatives to assist Hawaiʻi families in need."
     The funding to Hawaiʻi-based companies under this program goes to: Suisan Company Limited receives $621,813. Ham Produce and Seafood Inc. receives $3,584,000. Hawaiʻi Foodservice Alliance receives $313,500. ʻĀina Hoʻokupu O Kīlauea receives $468,000. Mālama Kauaʻi receives $235,200.
     The Farmers to Families Food Box Program, a component of the USDA CFAP, is aimed at supporting farmers and ranchers through the purchase of excess commodities while replenishing supplies for over-extended food banks and organizations throughout the country. Through the program, national, regional, and local suppliers partner with USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat products.
     Suppliers in the program will package these products into family-sized boxes and transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits that distribute food to Americans in need, with deliveries from May 15 through June 30. Additional information on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, including webinars and answers to FAQs, is available on the AMS website at ams.usda.gov/selling-food-to-usda/farmers-to-families-food-box.

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FILE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS ON DAY OF THE WEEK ASSIGNED TO NAMES BEGINNING WITH: A-G on Mondays, H-O on Tuesdays, P-Z on Wednesdays, with Thursday-Sunday designated as open days for anyone.
     The assignments are to prevent overloading the state unemployment system, said Gov. David Ige and Scott Murakami, Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. They gave updates on unemployment insurance processing, during Thursday's Community Connection Facebook Live.
     Murakami reported 141,077 claims processed as of Wednesday, which represents 63 percent of the total claims received. Of that number, 100,602 claims were paid out.
     DLIR is also expanding its call center with an additional 150 phones to handle more questions. Staff is creating a database for businesses bringing back employees and receiving Paycheck Protection Program federal loans. Ige's new Q&A will be on Facebook Live next Wednesday, May 13. Watch at facebook.com/GovernorDavidIge/.

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"STAMP IT OUT AND KEEP IT OUT!" is the advice of West Kaʻū's member of the state House of Representatives. Physician and Rep. Richard Creagan issued this opinion piece today. It takes a look back at history:
     As we experience this horrible COVID-19 pandemic and search for a strategy that will make Hawaiʻi a paradise again, we should first look to the past. The 1918-20 Spanish Flu pandemic killed over 50 million people worldwide, but one island group was spared. American Samoa had zero deaths from that pandemic.
     The reasons were that it was very isolated and, as the flu pandemic started during WWI, American Samoa was under a military governor who banned all visitors. There was no testing, just a complete ban. Contrast that with what happened in Western Samoa with an identical ethnic group. Western Samoa was under the British Commonwealth. A ship from New Zealand brought in the flu and 22 percent of the ethnic Samoans died – one of the highest mortalities in the world. The entire United States lost less than one percent of its population.
While women in Japan wore gauze masks during the 1917-1918 pandemic, a ship took the disease to Western
Samoa, where 20 percent of the people died. American Samoa kept out everyone and suffered zero deaths.
    In Hawaiʻi, we are the most geographically isolated island group in the world. That could work to our favor in dealing with an infectious disease pandemic. Unfortunately, we are no longer functionally isolated and so COVID-19 swept in here, but we reacted quickly. We took a number of steps to limit further cases coming in, and will be increasing that restriction until readily available immediate and reliable testing can let us screen all incoming visitors and returning residents. Because of our extreme physical isolation, we can more easily than most countries, and all our other states, reestablish a protective functional isolation.
     We are doing well from a public health standpoint. Our hospitals have not been overwhelmed. We have, compared to most states, has a relatively low number of cases and a small number of hospitalization and deaths, mostly on Oʻahu. But our economy and our people are suffering greatly.
     We can and must do better. We need to stamp out this disease and we need to keep it out. We need to become the only COVID-free state in the United States. That will not be easy, but it is doable, and the benefits will be remarkable.
     China did it and is continuing to do it. We hear talk of "mitigation" and "bending the curve."  That is the best the other states can probably do. It will keep the number of cases per unit of time down. If successful, it will avoid overwhelming the health care systems, but will not decrease the number of cases, and many deaths will occur over the several years that will pass until herd immunity is achieved or a vaccine is developed. Our country's economy has been and will be further severely impacted by the economic and social shutdown necessary for this mitigation.
     However, what China aimed for and achieved is "suppression" with the goal not being to minimize deaths to "acceptable" levels but to eradicate the virus. Their goal was to recover their society as a largely COVID-free country. They did it, New Zealand is trying it – and we can do it here.
The 1917-1918 Spanish Flu pandemic killed 50 million people worldwide. 
     It will take will and hard work, but when it is done, we will have a thriving, healthy, and safe economy again. Don't throw away a chance for a total victory for short term economic gain.
     We are not only isolated as a state, but each of our islands is substantially isolated from the other islands, and we can stamp it out in each individual island first before tackling the larger problem of Oʻahu, where most of our population, cases, and deaths are found.
     We have emulated much of the social distancing and closing down tactics which limited the spread of the virus, but there are aspects of China's strategy that we should emulate to truly "stamp it out."
     The most important thing that China did is to isolate all COVID-19 positive cases, even if mild, either in existing hospitals that were designated as COVID hospitals or in their "pop-up" hospitals, which consisted mainly of a bunch of beds in large spaces with sanitation, food and water, some oxygen, but no advanced treatment. This is where the mild cases were kept, so they could be observed and moved to more advanced facilities as needed, but that strategy kept these infected patients from spreading the disease further to their families or neighbors.
     It should be noted that they kept some hospitals – such as trauma and cardiac centers – as COVID-free as possible. We should emulate that approach as well, and keep all our neighbor island hospitals and some Oʻahu hospitals COVID-free. We should also concentrate our younger and less vulnerable health care providers at these COVID hospitals. We do not want to wipe out much of a generation of older health care workers.
We have no need to create these temporary buildings, lacking in comfort and privacy.
     The massive slow down in tourism and the mandatory 14-day quarantine limited new cases coming in but also freed up our hotels to be used in dealing with the COVID-19 cases and their care givers. Hotels are almost ideal hospitals, with privacy, ability for individual isolation, bathrooms, food service, security, communication, robust electrical systems, big elevators, multiple isolatable floors, and individual air handling for most rooms. The Army Corps of Engineers has plans to readily and quickly convert hotels for effective isolation, quarantine, and treatment of mild to moderate cases not needing critical care or ventilators. There would also be plenty of room to house health care workers so they would not bring COVID-19 home.
     Letting people self-quarantine at home does not work if you want to eradicate. New York found 100s of people dead who were self-isolating. Had they spread the disease before they died? Could they have been saved? Many of those self-isolated patients had other family members who unnecessarily got the disease. Television news anchor Chris Cuomo "self-isolated" in his basement but gave it to his wife and then they gave it to his 14-year-old son. That pattern will continue here in Hawaiʻi and prevent eradication – if we do not alter it.
     Our neighbor island hospitals need to be preserved to take care of the regular medical problems which they were already struggling to deal with before COVID. Trauma, cardiac care, delivering babies, surgery, cancer care, etc. are functions that are compromised if COVID patients are treated in neighbor island hospitals.
     Mild cases can become very severe very quickly and should be kept in at least a health provider-staffed COVID hotel/hospital, ideally near regular hospitals that can provide advanced treatment. I would argue that, with the decrease in the threat of overwhelming our Oʻahu hospitals, that treatment of COVID patients should be there. It moves the risk of COVID transmission out of the neighbor islands, preserves our critically needed neighbor island hospitals and health care providers, and protects their families and communities
   Since infected patients are isolated because of their disease, they cannot be visited by family anyway, so having them on Oʻahu makes medical sense and social sense. The neighbor islands do not have enough specialists needed to take care of critical and complicated patients, and some patients that might survive on Oʻahu will likely perish.
     One example of treatment that is not readily available at hospitals on the neighbor islands is renal dialysis for renal failure, which developed in about a third of critical patients in New YorkKona Hospital does not have any dialysis units. While Hilo does, those units could be needed by existing non-COVID patients. Many patients in New York died because of the limited availability of dialysis.
     New York is reporting severe strokes in their young and middle aged COVID patients, which could be reversed by interventional neurologists that are not available on the neighbor islands – certainly not on the Big Island. Cardiac complications are not easily treated on the neighbor islands. Patients that require hospitalization cannot be visited so there is little benefit to keep them near their families and with the superior treatment available on Oʻahu they are more likely to be able to return home as functional and healthy individuals.
     The Air National Guard or perhaps unused Hawaiian Airlines planes could be used to fly the patients to Oʻahu.
     Read more on Creagan's outlook in tomorrow's Kaʻū News Briefs.

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CONSERVATION REAUTHORIZATION ACT was introduced by Congressman Ed Case today. He said it will update and improve the national commitment to saving endangered coral reefs as first set forth in a measure enacted 20 years ago. "In the two decades since the passage of the 2000 Act, the state of our reefs has deteriorated alarmingly and the challenges and opportunities for effective management have evolved," said Case.
A healthy coral reef. NOAA photo
     Case said coral reefs are vital natural infrastructure that safeguard our coastal and island communities. Healthy, resilient coral reefs buffer against severe weather, shoreline erosion, and flooding, and serve as natural breakwaters for maritime ports and harbors. "Coral reefs also support countless American jobs in the tourism, hospitality, boating, recreation, and fishing industries," he said. "In particular, coral reefs are integral to commercial and recreational sport fisheries across the United States and in our nation's Exclusive Economic Zone.
     "As coral reefs provide a rich habitat for a variety of marine life, the loss of coral reef ecosystems is having very serious consequences for coastal communities and economies, the health of fish and other marine wildlife, biodiversity, and the overall marine environment. In fact, such loss is accelerating rapidly, for various reasons. Warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures combined with widespread pollution are threatening their health and causing mass bleaching events. Bleaching events cause corals to be more susceptible to disease and increase their chances of dying."
     Case explained that his Coral Reef Conservation Reauthorization Act would:
     Strengthen the federal responses to coral reef emergencies, including bleaching, vessel groundings, harmful algal blooms, coral disease/invasive species outbreaks, and unexploded ordnance underwater;
     Expand federal grant-making for local coral reef conservation projects, including research on coral biodiversity, propagation, and resiliency;
An example of coral bleaching. NOAA photo
     Authorize the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and the Coral Reef Management Fellowship; and
     Authorize the U.S. Department of the Interior to research and conserve coral resources, including coral reefs within national parks, national wildlife refuges, and national monuments.
     "Coral reefs represent the planet's greatest source of biodiversity," said Case. "Coral reefs cover less than 1 percent of the ocean floor but are home to some 25 percent of all known marine species." Coral reef ecosystems also support upwards of 12 percent of global fisheries and an estimated 25 percent of all known fish species. "It is critical to life as we know it that we accelerate our efforts to preserve these invaluable and indispensable elements of our natural world."
     Case said co-sponsors of his measure include: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaiʻi and other members of Congress from coastal regions.

directory for farms, ranches, takeout. Print edition of The Kaʻū Calendar is 
free, with 7,500 distributed on stands and to all postal addresses throughout 
Kaʻū, from Miloliʻi through Volcano throughout the district. Read online at 
kaucalendar.com and facebook.com/kaucalendar. To advertise your 
business or your social cause, contact kaucalendarads@gmail.com.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Daily, weekly, and monthly recurring Kaʻū and Volcano Events, Meetings, Entertainment, Exercise, Meditation, and more are listed at kaucalendar.com. However, all non-essential activities are canceled through the end of May.

MOST EVENTS ARE CANCELLED to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The state is under a stay-at-home order, with l4 days of quarantine required for anyone coming into the state. Interisland travel is restricted. Those in Hawaiʻi should stay at home unless needing to obtain food or medical care.

Free COVID-19 Screenings are at Bay Clinic during business hours, with appointment. Call 333-3600.
     A testing team from Aloha Critical Care in Kona will provide testing at St. Jude's every other Wednesday. The next date is May 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
     The next drive-thru screening at Nāʻālehu Community Center will be held Wednesday, May 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Screening will be carried out by Aliʻi Health, with support from County of Hawai‘i COVID-19 Task Force, Premier Medical Group and Pathways Telehealth.
     Wearing masks is required for everyone.
     To bypass the screening queue at community test sites, patients can call ahead to Pathways Telehealth, option 5 at 808-747-8321. The free clinic will also offer on-site screening to meet testing criteria. Physicians qualify those for testing, under the guidance of Center for Disease Control & Prevention and Hawaiʻi's COVID-19 Response Task Force.
     Those visiting screening clinics will be asked to show photo ID, and any health insurance cards – though health insurance is not required to be tested. They are also asked to bring their own pen to fill in forms.
     For further information, call Civil Defense at 935-0031.

Free Breakfast and Lunch for Anyone Eighteen and Under is available at Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary and at Nāʻālehu Elementary weekdays through May. Each youth must be present to receive a meal. Service is drive-up or walk-up, and social distancing rules (at least six feet away) are observed. Breakfast is served 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m., lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Food is being delivered to Ocean View.

St. Jude's Episcopal Church Soup Kitchen is open, with a modified menu and increased health & safety standards, every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hot showers, the computer lab, and in-person services and bible studies are suspended. Services are posted online on Sundays at stjudeshawaii.org.

The Food Basket Food Pantries Distribution, where families can receive 14 days of food per family:
     The Ocean View location for May is Kahuku Park on Monday, May 11, 10 a.m. to noon. Call The Food Basket, 933-6030.
     The Nāʻālehu location Sacred Heart Church at 95-558 Mamālahoa Hwy, under their Loaves and Fishes program, on Thursday, May 28 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Call 928-8208.
     The Pāhala location is Kaʻū District Gym at 96-1149 Kamani Street, distributed by the ʻO Kaʻū Kākou Pantry, on Tuesday, May 26, 10 a.m. to noon. Call The Food Basket, 933-6030.
     The Volcano location is Cooper Center at 19-4030 Wright Road Wednesday, May 27 from 10 a.m. to noon. Call Kehau at 443-4130.

On-Call Emergency Box Food Pantry is open at Cooper Center Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to noon. Call 967-7800 to confirm.

The Next Learning Packet and Student Resource Distribution for Nāʻālehu Elementary School Students will be Monday, May 11. The packets are designed for learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and can be picked up every two weeks. One family member may pick up for several students in the same family. Students need not be present for the learning resources to be retrieved. Please note the grade of each child. Distribution times are organized by the first letter of the student's last name at the site closest to their home. Supplies will be given out simultaneously.
     Everyone is asked to observe social distancing rules, staying 6 feet away from others during pick-up. See the school website, naalehuel.hidoe.us, for more information and updates.
     Distribution at Nāʻālehu Elementary has pick-up from 8 a.m - 8:20 a.m. for A-H; 8:20 a.m. - 8:40 a.m. for I-P, and 8:40 a.m. - 9 a.m. for Q-Z.
     Distribution at Discovery Harbour Community Center has pick-up from 8 a.m - 8:20 a.m. for A-H; 8:20 a.m. - 8:40 a.m. for I-P, and 8:40 a.m. - 9 a.m. for Q-Z.
     Distribution at Ocean View Mālama Market has pick-up from 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m. for A-H, 9:50 a.m. - 10:10 a.m. for I-P, and 10:10 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. for Q-Z.
     Distribution at Ocean View Community Center has pick-up from 5 p.m. - 5:20 p.m. for A-H, 5:20 p.m. - 5:40 p.m. for I-P, and 5:40 p.m. - 6 p.m. for Q-Z.
     Those who come to campus to pick up free student breakfasts are encouraged to also pick up their packets at the same time.

Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium Closed for Renovation through June 30. The Park is closed until further notice due to COVID-19 spread mitigation. A popular seven-and-a-half minute 2018 eruption video will be shown on a television in the exhibits area, once the Park and center reopen, and is available online for free download.

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