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Monday, June 01, 2020

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Monday, June 1, 2020

Rain from Hurricane Lane drenched Kaʻū in 2018. Read the 2020 forecast for Hurricane Season, which began today, below.
Photo by Julia Neal 

THE 14-DAY INTERISLAND QUARANTINE RESTRICTIONS WILL BE LIFTED ON TUESDAY, JUNE 16. Gov. David Ige made the announcement this afternoon. He said lifting the quarantine will help island families to reunite, while keeping in place the 14-day quarantine for out-of-state arrivals.
     The quarantine for out-of-state arrivals remains in place until June 30, possibly beyond. Ige said he is hoping to set a target date next week for reopening for out-of-state traveling. With only a dozen new cases during the last week, the governor said, "Clearly, we have the lowest case count in the country."
     Vacation Rentals and Time Share accommodation operators said they have no indication of a date when they would be able to accommodate on-island and interisland travelers who want to come from one part of Hawaiʻi Island or from another island to visit their families.
     State Department of Transportation will require thermal screening at the airport for everyone traveling interisland. Travelers must also fill out a new form that will ask for health-related information to assist the state in tracking and responding to new COVID-19 cases. Interisland travelers may be prohibited from boarding a flight if they have an elevated temperature, above 100.4 degrees; if they refuse to complete the mandatory form; or if they are on the 14-day quarantine list, prohibiting them from flying.
Gov. David Ige, at podium, surrounded by empty Hawaiian Air counters, Lt. Gov. Josh Green (center), and others,
during his press conference today, announcing partial reopening - with precautions - on interisland travel.
Photo from the governor's office 
     Ige said, "I want to ensure the public that the health and safety of our residents are still our primary concerns. We would not have taken this step if key indicators were not achieved." He said Hawaiʻi has "ample healthcare capacity to handle any new outbreak or surge, and our testing and contact tracing capacity continue to increase."
     The governor's office said the number of new COVID-19 cases "is expected to rise once travel is re-opened." DOH has "begun the process" of training 500 new contact tracers, "exceeding the recommended standards set by the Centers for Disease Control recommendations, and is exploring other screening and testing procedures," says a statement from Ige's office.
     Ige said, "This is an important step for everyone living in Hawaiʻi. It will help reunite families and friends who have been separated due to COVID-19. And it's an important step for the reopening of our kamaʻaina economy."
     The governor said the next step is "restoring out-of-state travel to the islands in a safe manner" but that "we must ensure that we do not experience a surge in cases that overwhelms our healthcare capacity. While we are working quickly to re-open travel, this must be a careful and thoughtful process. We have seen the new outbreaks in other communities that have re-opened too quickly. And many of our largest visitor markets, such as California, still have large numbers of cases that are a cause for concern."
     Watch Ige's news conference here.

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Legislators want "clear, comprehensive" safeguards for air travelers,
put in place by the federal government. Photo from Hawaiian Air
PROTECTING AIR TRAVELERS AND RESIDENTS OF HAWAII and other destinations is the goal of Sen. Mazie Hirono and colleagues. They wrote a letter  to U.S. Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Senators asked for "clear and comprehensive national standards to protect air travelers from coronavirus from the time they enter an airport to start their air travel to their last step at their destination airport,"
     Airports, businesses, and aviation stakeholders "have developed and implemented a patchwork and inconsistent system of polices to address the coronavirus, which were informed by voluntary guidance issued by the Administration. Without a strong coordinated system in place, restoration of air travel will be beset by COVID-19 flare-ups possibly leading to the resumption of stay-at-home orders and quarantines," state the legislators.
     Hirono wrote, "The State of Hawaiʻi is strongly impacted by air travel, as are other non-contiguous areas in the United States. In order to begin safe and incremental air travel during this pandemic, appropriate procedures that protect the health and welfare of workers and the traveling public must be put in place at all airports nationwide. Establishing clear standards is necessary to restore public confidence in resuming air travel in a safe manner. I ask that your agencies work together to develop and implement cohesive federal standards and requirements on air travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic." Read the letter here.

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HURRICANE SEASON BEGAN TODAY and is forecast to create two to six tropical cyclones that will pass through the Central Pacific Basin from June 1 through Nov. 30, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. The first named storm will be called Hone. The hurricane season runs through November 30.
     The annual forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agency says, "There is a 75 percent chance of near- or below-normal tropical cyclone activity during the Central Pacific hurricane season this year."
2018's hurricane season brought torrential rains and flooding to Kaʻū.
The 2020 season is expected to have fewer threatening storms.
Photo by Julia Neal
     The average number of storms is about five, with zero in 1979 and 16 in 2015. Central Pacific Hurricane Center Director Chris Brenchley said the prediction for 2020 is based on neutral warm-water El Niño conditions early in the season transitioning to cooler La Niña conditions in the Fall. Putting the forecast in numbers, he calculated "a 75 percent chance of a near-or-below normal season or normal season, with a 25 percent chance of an above-normal season. Last year, only one storm passing through the Central Pacific reached Hurricane strength.
     "Regardless of the number of tropical cyclones predicted, this outlook serves as a reminder to everyone in the State of Hawaiʻi to prepare now. Learn about hurricane hazards and where to find our forecasts, then make a plan so that you and your family stay healthy and safe,”
     For the season as a whole, 2 to 6 tropical cyclones are predicted for the Central Pacific hurricane region. This number includes tropical depressions, named storms and hurricanes. A near-normal season has 4 or 5 tropical cyclones. 
     Gerry Bell, Ph.D., NOAA's lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center, said, "This year we will likely see less activity in the Central Pacific region compared to more active seasons. Less activity is predicted since ocean temperatures are likely to be near-average in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean where hurricanes form, and because El Niño is not present to increase the activity."
     This outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal tropical cyclone activity in the Central Pacific Basin, and does not predict whether, or how many, of these systems will affect Hawaiʻi.
     The Central Pacific Hurricane Center continuously monitors weather conditions, employing a network of satellites, land- and ocean-based sensors, and aircraft reconnaissance missions operated by NOAA and its partners. This array of data supplies the information for complex computer modeling and human expertise, which are the basis for the center's storm track and intensity forecasts. These forecasts are made available to the public and media, and help provide critical decision support services to emergency managers at the federal, state, and county levels. 
     New this year, NOAA's Aviation Weather Center is expanding its Graphical Forecasts for Aviation Tool in late June over Hawaiʻi and portions of the Pacific Ocean. This tool will provide pilots with observations and forecasts of weather phenomena, which are critical for aviation safety.

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There is one reported case of COVID-19 in Kaʻū. White is zero 
cases. Yellow is one to five cases. Light orange is six to ten cases.
Dark orange (not pictured) is 11 to 20 cases. Red is 21 to 50 cases.
Hawaiʻi Department of Health map
NO NEW COVID-19 CASES ON HAWAIʻI ISLAND, and all 81 cases on-island since the pandemic began are recovered.
     No new cases were reported today in the state. Since the pandemic began, Oʻhua has reported 421, Kauaʻi 20, and Maui County 120. Statewide, 652 people have been confirmed positive for the virus since the pandemic began. Seventeen people have died - none on this island, where there was only one overnight hospitalization.
     The daily message from Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Director Talmadge Magno says, "On today's report of COVID-19, the number of active cases for Hawaiʻi Island is zero. An active case is defined as an individual who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and is being monitored by the Department of Health. This format, reporting only active cases status, will now be used in the daily update."
     An ʻOhana Food Service was held in Kaʻū at the Nāʻālehu Shopping Center today Talmadge thanks "Hawaiʻi Food Basket and their partners for making this possible and the Hawaiʻi Police, Hawaiʻi National Guard, and State Sheriffs for helping."
      Magno also says, "The Island and State of Hawaiʻi are to be commended in their work to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus. Ongoing forward, know that the virus threat remains and the community needs to continue following the preventive policies to stop the spread of the virus. A huge and grateful thank you to the community of Hawaiʻi for doing your part to keep our home safe. Thank you for listening and please stay safe. This is your Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency."
     In the United States, more than 1.85 million cases have been confirmed. The death toll is over 107,000. Worldwide, more than 6.27 million have contracted COVID-19. The death toll is over 376,000.

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.

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 June 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
     The next drive-thru screening at Nāʻālehu Community Center will be held Wednesday, June 10 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. 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.
     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.
     For further information, call Civil Defense at 935-0031.

Ocean View Swap Meet is open at Ocean View makai shopping center, near Mālama Market. Hours for patrons are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Vendor set-up time is 5 a.m. Masks are required for all vendors and patrons.

ʻO Kaʻū Kākou Market in Nāʻālehu is open three days per week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – from 8 a.m. to noon. The goal is no more than 50 customers on the grounds at a time. Vendor booths per day are limited to 25, with 30 feet of space between vendors. Masks and hand sanitizing are required to attend the market. Social distancing will be enforced.
     A wide selection of fresh vegetables and fruits, prepared take away foods, assorted added value foods, breads and baked goods, honey, cheese, grass-fed beef, fish, vegetable plants, masks, handmade soaps, coffee, and more are offered on various days. Contact Sue Barnett, OKK Market Manager, at 808-345-9374, for more and to apply to vend.

Volcano Farmers Market at Cooper Center on Wright Road, off of Old Volcano Highway, is open on Sundays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with much local produce, island beef, and prepared foods. Call 808-967-7800.

Free Breakfast and Lunch for Anyone Eighteen and Under is available at Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary and at Nāʻālehu Elementary on weekdays (no holidays) through Friday, July 17. 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 from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m., lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Food is being delivered on Wednesdays to students in Green Sands, Discovery Harbour, and 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's ʻOhana Food Drop is available once a month at four Kaʻū and Volcano locations. People can receive a multi-day supply of shelf-stable and fresh food, depending on supply. Call The Food Basket at 933-6030 for Pāhala and Volcano or at 322-1418 for Nāʻālehu or Ocean View. Food can be picked up from 10 a.m. until pau – supplies run out – at:
     Nāʻālehu's Sacred Heart Church at 95-558 Mamālahoa Hwy was June 1; the July date will be announced later.
     Ocean View's Kahuku Park on Tuesday, June 8.
     Volcano's Cooper Center at 19-4030 Wright Road on  Wednesday, June 24.
     Pāhala's Kaʻū District Gym at 96-1149 Kamani Street on Tuesday, June 30.

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.

Enroll in Kua O Ka Lā's Hīpuʻu Virtual Academy for school year 2020-2021, grades four through eight. The Hawaiian Focused Charter School teaches with an emphasis on Hawaiian language and culture. The blended curriculum is offered through online instruction and community-based projects, with opportunities for face-to-face gatherings (with precautions), in an "Education with Aloha" environment.
     Kua O Ka Lā offers a specialized program that provides students with core curriculum, content area, and electives in-keeping with State of Hawaiʻi requirements. Combined with Native Hawaiian values, culture, and a place-based approach to education, from the early morning wehena – ceremonial school opening – Kua O Ka Lā students are encouraged to walk Ke Ala Pono – the right and balanced path.
     The school's website says Kua O Ka Lā has adopted Ke Ala Pono "to describe our goal of nurturing and developing our youth. We believe that every individual has a unique potential and that it is our responsibility to help our students learn to work together within the local community to create a future that is
pono – right." The school aims to provide students with "the knowledge and skills, through Hawaiian values and place-based educational opportunities, that prepare receptive, responsive, and self-sustaining individuals that live 'ke ala pono.'"
     See kuaokala.org to apply and to learn more about the school. Call 808-981-5866 or 808-825-8811, or email info@kuaokala.org for more.

Pāhala and Nāʻālehu Public Libraries are Open for Pick-Up Services Only. Nāʻālehu is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Pāhala is open Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Library patrons schedule Library Take Out appointment times to pick up their hold item(s) at their favorite libraries by going to HSPLS Library Catalog and placing a hold on any item(s) they want to borrow, or they may call their favorite library branch to place a hold with the library staff. After receiving a notice that item(s) are ready for pick up, patrons schedule a Library Take Out time at picktime.com/hspls. For patrons who placed holds during the closure, their item(s) are ready for pickup after the patron schedules a Library Take Out appointment. For more information, visit librarieshawaii.org.

Free Book Exchanges at the laundromats in Ocean View and Nāʻālehu are provided by Friends of the Kaʻū Libraries. Everyone is invited to take books they want to read. They may keep the books, pass them on to other readers, or return them to the Book Exchange to make them available to others in the community. The selection of books is replenished weekly at both sites.

Make Reservations for Father's Day at Crater Rim Café in Kīlauea Military Camp for Sunday, June 21 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Seating limited due to social distancing. Dinner also available to go. The main course is Prime Rib and Vegetable Alfredo Pasta Bake, with side dishes and dessert, for $27.95 per person. Call 967-8356 for dine-in reservations, to-go orders, and current event information. KMC is open to all authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.

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.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.