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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022

Federal funding of $3.7 million to improve access to health information, especially for underserved communities, will train
 and employ high school and undergraduate students to be health and digital “navigators” in 50 libraries across the state.
 Perhaps one of the libraries will be in Pāhala (above) and Nāʻālehu. Photo by Julia Neal

PROTECTING OUR HEALTH WAS THE FIRST HEADLINE IN HAWAI'I'S SATE OF THE STATE presentation on Monday. Gov. David Ige gave the address to the Hawai'i Senate and House of Representatives, the mayors and other elected officials, as well as the public. He aska the legislature tohelp fund an expansion of the residency program at the University of Hawai'i Medical School to help with the doctor shortage in Hawai'i, proposing the number doctors practicing their residency on Hawai'i and other Neighbor Islands increase from five to 50. He notes that "most young doctors end up 
practicing where they do their residency."
    He also asks for funding "to strengthen the university’s nursing program and add more clinical instructors at our community colleges. We want to add 39 lecturers across multiple campuses to handle the increased demand for nursing programs." In a program that could involve Pāhala and Nāʻālehu Libraries, the governor mentions $3.7 million in  federal funds to improve access to health information, especially for underserved communities. The project will train and employ high school and undergraduate students to be health and digital “navigators” in 50 libraries across the state. These navigators will help individuals access telehealth services and find information on the coronavirus and other health topics. The governor says, "I believe everything begins with keeping us healthy and safe. Over the last seven years (of Ige serving as governor) we focused on modernizing our telehealth infrastructure, providing health services to underserved populations, and strengthening mental health services. "In response to the pandemic, we moved quickly to: Take immediate action to protect our health; provide healthcare for another 110,000  residents 

under our Medicaid program (a 34-percent increase since the start of the pandemic), and make sure that everyone had good healthcare coverage. At the same time, we distributed critical medical supplies, including PPEs, test kits, vaccines and medicines to protect the elderly, rural communities, as well as the entire state. I deeply appreciate the thousands involved in this task, whose scale and complexity rivals anything we’ve ever done statewide. Vaccinations have proven to be our strongest weapon against the Coronavirus. In all, we’ve provided more than two and a half million shots at hundreds of clinics across the state. Needless to say, this effort remains ongoing."
    The governor also points to the need "to strengthen the medical facilities in our prisons to protect the health of our inmates, staff and the general public. Our plans to relocate OCCC to Halawa will create a modern facility better suited to support the behavioral, mental health and medical needs of its population. In our current budget request, we’ve also asked the Legislature for $45 million to build a consolidated healthcare unit at Halawa that will allow us to better deliver medical and health services there. Clearly, the coronavirus has shown us how persistent and adaptive it can be, as we’ve seen with the Delta and Omicron variants. Even as we learn how to better protect ourselves, we need to remain vigilant." See other topics from the State of the State in Wednesday's Kaʻū News Briefs.

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A MAGNITUDE 4.7 EARTHQUAKE SHOOK THE OCEAN FLOOR NORTH OF MAUI on early Tuesday morning and was felt on Hawai'i and other islands.  U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory  recorded it at 12:51 a.m. The earthquake was centered about 10 km (6 miles) north-northeast of  Wailua, on the island of Maui, at a depth of 41 km (25 miles) below sea level.  A map showing its location is posted on the HVO website. More details are available at the National Earthquake Information Center website.
    Weak to light shaking, with a maximum instrumental intensity of IV on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, and has been reported widely across Maui and as far away as the islands of Hawai‘i and Oʻahu. At that intensity, no damage to buildings or structures was expected. The USGS “Did you feel it?” service received over 475 felt reports within the first hour of the earthquake.
   According to HVO Scientist-in-Charge, Ken Hon, the earthquake had no observable impact on Hawai'i’s active volcanoes. “This earthquake was located off the coast of Maui at a depth indicative of oceanic plate bending due to the weight of the islands. This is a common source for earthquakes in this area and is not related to volcanic activity. Webcams and other data streams show no impact on Mauna Loa or Kīlauea.”
    He said, however, aftershocks are possible and may be felt. HVO continues to monitor Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes. 

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TWO MORE FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS THIS WEEK for 'ohana will be happening in Kaʻū and Volcano, sponsored by Hawai'i Food Basket. 
    On Wednesday, Jan. 26, there will be a distribution at Cooper Center on Wright Road in Volcano from 9:30 a.m. 'til 11:30 a.m.
    On Thursday, Jan. 27, there will be a Nāʻālehu distribution by Sacred Hearts - Loaves and Fishes, at the Church on Hwy 11, from 9 a.m. 'til 11 a.m.

MANA UP IS LOOKING TO ADD TEN Hawaiʻi-based product companies to the seventh cohort of the Mana Up Accelerator Program. The goal is to scale local companies into global brands. To date, 63 companies have graduated from their six-month accelerator program. Criteria for their accelerator program includes being a Hawaiʻi-based company, producing retail, beauty, home or value-added food products, and having the potential for international expansion. To apply, fill out the following application form due on February 18, 2022: https://manauphawaii.com/pages/apply?utm_campaign=C7%20Recruitment%20Announcement%20%28SA2BeQ%29&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Mana%20Up%20Community%20%28Via%20manauphawaii.com%29&_kx=uDiBYiEBkXfsSapKQVmsESdsdq1-i2FcE-Tmc7jMoG9bhOeBYJvcLnlo31WZgN3g.WDUPce

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NINETEEN MOTORISTS WERE ARRESTED FOR DUI from Jan. 17 through Jan. 23. Hawai‘i Island police arrested them for driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Two were involved in a traffic
accident. One was under the age of 21. So far this year, there have been 69 DUI arrests compared with 83 during the same period last year, a decrease of 16.9 percent. There have been 44 major accidents so far this year compared with 41 during the same period last year, an increase of 7.3 percent. To date, there have been two fatal crashes, resulting in two fatalities, compared with two fatal crashes, resulting in two fatalities for the same time last year. Police promise that DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue island wide. 

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KAʻŪ HOSPITAL'S SISTER FACILITY HILO MEDICAL CENTER issued its COVID report today. Spokesperson Elena Cabatu said Hilo Medical Center is caring for 25 COVID patients, four in ICU all on vents, three of the  unvaccinated and one vaccinated. Of the COVID patients in the hospital, 11 are unvaccinated, 12 are vaccinated and two are boosted.
  "The hospital continues to be very full with COVID and non-COVID patients," said Cabatu.
COVID nurses at Hilo Medical Center. Photo from HMC
    Hilo Medical Center is hosting 36 FEMA-funded personnel to help in this omicron surge.
"We have opened eight additional acute beds in overflow areas of the hospital and are prepared to open 24 additional beds if demand further exceeds capacity," she said.
    Cabatu noted that "Our Emergency Department is experiencing longer than usual wait times due to a combination of factors:
     HMC is unable to discharge waitlisted patients to a number of long term care facilities that are closed for new admissions due to COVID exposures and positives among their staff and residents.
These waitlisted patients at HMC, combined with an already full hospital, means that patients waiting beds to open up upstairs on the units have to be held in the Emergency Department.
    "Today we started off with 10 holds in our 28-bed Emergency Department, which left our ED staff with 18 beds and a number of hallway beds available to care for patients today."
    HMC is closing its vaccination clinic, starting this Friday, due to the widespread availabilitry to receive the vaccines in the community. See:
    KTA: https://www.ktasuperstores.com/pharmacy-covid-19-vaccinations
    Longs/CVS: https://www.cvs.com/vaccine/intake/store/store-select/first-store-locator
    Safeway: https://www.safeway.com/pharmacy/covid-19.html

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The Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES) is accepting applications

for its summer 2022 internship program. PIPES is a 10-week undergraduate internship

program May 31 to Aug. 5, offered through University of Hawai'i at Hilo.

The goal is "to connect under-represented undergraduate students, especially those

who are Native Hawaiian or kamaʻāina, to internship opportunities with agencies and

organizations responsible for research, management, and education relating to

environmental issues in Hawaiʻi and throughout the Pacific region. Internships are

paid experiences. Participants may be eligible for additional housing assistance.

For more information, visit: https://hilo.hawaii.edu/uhintern

The deadline to apply is January 31, 2022.

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www.kaucalendar.com and find the
monthly print copy in mailboxes from 
Volcano through Ocean View.