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Sunday, September 5, 2021
September 5, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:16 PM :: 777 Views

Honolulu Council urged to shelve digital vaccine passports resolution

Counties, You’re TAT Collectors Now

Registration Opens for 2021-2022 Hawaii LifeSmarts Competition

JSC Announces Two Judicial Vacancies

Unemployment: State Refunds $700M to Feds

Maui Co Vaccine card program set to roll out for county Sept. 15

MN: … A modified version of Oahu’s vaccine card program is in the works for Maui County and is scheduled to begin on Sept. 15, Mayor Michael Victorino said on Friday….

While Victorino did not offer full details, he gave an example of how the program could work, saying customers would be required to show their COVID-19 vaccination card or have some kind of verification that they are vaccinated. Those who do not have the card could either sit outside, if the restaurant has outdoor seating, or do takeout.

When asked which businesses would need to comply with the requirement, Victorino said: “At this time, my staff and I are working on the final details, and we will be releasing that next week Tuesday, so at this time I don’t have complete details to release to you or to the public at large.”

But Victorino added that the program would not apply to private business employees, as the county will leave that up to employers on whether or not they will require vaccinations for their staff….

He said this means that many hospitals across the state have full ICUs or are above capacity. A “significant portion” of those in the ICU, or 99, are COVID patients, he added. Around 85 percent of COVID patients are unvaccinated, Raethel said.

Maui Memorial Medical Center is faring somewhat better, as it had 31 people hospitalized with COVID and five in the ICU, with one on a ventilator, according to the hospital’s website Friday. In August the hospital saw a high of 40 COVID patients. The facility has 31 beds in the ICU.

Of those hospitalized with COVID at Maui Memorial, 24 are unvaccinated.

Maui Memorial cautioned that Maui County had 467 new cases from Aug. 23 to 27, and research has shown that about 10 percent of positive cases will likely need hospitalization within 10 to 14 days of virus onset, the hospital said in a news release. Based on those numbers, Maui County could see 46 additional hospitalizations within the next two weeks…. 

read … Vaccine card program set to roll out for county Sept. 15

Failure to Fire Pang--more squishy leadership from Ige

Borreca: …the state Health Department is still bedeviled with problems from some on the support staff.

The state’s health director for Maui, Dr. Lorrin Pang, has been blasted by state Legislature’s House and Senate leaders and committee chairmen.They wrote to Ige last week asking him to remove Pang after the Honolulu Star- Advertiser reported that Pang is the co-founder of the Pono Coalition for Informed Consent.

The group on its website says that it “advocates for true informed consent before taking the experimental COVID-19 vaccines, before authorizing for another, or before administering,” but has been denounced by Ige, the state Department of Health and lawmakers for spreading misinformation about the vaccine, according to an Associated Press report.

Pang, in a news report, said his involvement with the Pono Coalition was as a private citizen and that he didn’t agree with all the views of its members.

All that, however, is more about Ige and Pang face- saving than what is needed, which is getting 100% of Hawaii’s eligible population vaccinated. Doing that would quiet state critics, give Drs. Pang and Green a day without saying “I protest,” and save scores of Hawaii residents from a life-threatening virus….

read … Who’s leading us, and how’s it going? Taking stock of Hawaii’s ordeal with COVID-19

Shapiro: Isolate the Antivaxxers instead of letting them isolate us

Shapiro: … Both Safe Access O‘ahu and his tough stance on requiring city employees to be vaccinated have drawn criticism from some City Council members and raucous demonstrations at Honolulu Hale.

Blangiardi testified before the Council as protesters banged on windows and answered questions for an hour from a group that ludicrously demanded an in-person, maskless town hall meeting of 500 people, drawing the line only when they shouted personal insults.

The great majority of Oahuans who have cooperated with virus control by getting vaccinated and wearing masks have effectively been forced into isolation by those who drive new surges by refusing to cooperate with abatement measures and then overflow hospitals when they get sick.

Efforts like Safe Access O‘ahu and employee vaccine mandates set things right by putting the isolation on the noncooperators rather than those who do their part to end this pandemic….

read … Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi shows welcome practicality on pandemic response

Hawai‘i hospitals burdened by skyrocketing infection rate amongst the unvaccinated

TGI: … “We have a record number of COVID-positive patients in our hospitals today (Friday) — 446,” Hilton Raethel, president of the Healthcare Association of Hawai‘i, told the state Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 Friday. “That is a new record. That is an increase of 330% since Aug. 1.”

Raethel and others who addressed the committee attributed the soaring numbers to the state’s unvaccinated population, which makes up over 90% of all current cases of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i….

read … Hawai‘i hospitals burdened by skyrocketing infection rate amongst the unvaccinated

Honolulu Emergency Services crews struggle to keep pace with COVID-19 calls

SA: … “It’s almost unmanageable,” said Sunny Fitzgerald, a paramedic stationed in Makiki. During her noon-to-midnight shift, she may respond to 12 to 17 calls, a workload she called overwhelming and brutal.

In August, about 400 calls for ambulances were coming in per day, compared to an average of 250 calls per day in past years, according to data provided by the Honolulu Emergency Services Department. Oahu has just 21 ambulance units staffed by about 250 paramedics and EMTs….

The number of call locations coded as related to COVID-19 jumped from 40 to 60 per month to a record of 332 in August….

read … Honolulu Emergency Services crews struggle to keep pace with COVID-19 calls

Hawaii charter schools more nimble in handling pandemic problems

SA: … The state Department of Education’s 257 public schools continue to keep their doors open for in-person learning even as COVID-19 surges across the islands and infections linked to campuses continue to rise.

By contrast, many of the state’s public charter schools have taken a different approach, with at least seven schools having shut down on a temporary basis and others quarantining entire classrooms or even grade levels in response to coronavirus cases among students and staff.

While infections linked to the DOE campuses have roughly averaged more than eight per school since July, the 37 public charter schools have averaged nearly three per school.

“The key is our schools are able to respond quicker, and if it spreads, they’re able to make adjustments faster,” said PJ Foehr, interim deputy director of the State Public Charter School Commission. “I feel bad for the DOE at times, because for them it’s all or nothing.”…

read … Hawaii charter schools more nimble in handling pandemic problems

HLTA: Hotel industry seeing large number of cancelations

KITV: … He says the hospitality industry is seeing a record number of cancelations and forcing many businesses to revise budgets.

He said while the summer saw more than 80% occupancy for the hotel industry, that was a temporary bump.

Long term recovery will depend on when the international travel market opens back up and large conventions and conferences return….

read … HLTA: Hotel industry seeing large number of cancelations

Hawaii businesses still struggling to hire as some unemployment benefits come to an end

HNN: … After Sept. 4, many unemployment claimants will no longer receive extra federal benefits, which was approved by congress in 2020 to help during the pandemic.

With that support gone, retailers and restaurants are hoping to see more applications come through.

Even after the state began requiring unemployment claimants to show three filled job applications weekly, restaurants and retailers say it wasn’t much help as they have been struggling to fill positions.

“It’s pretty hard and a waste of time because you’re not sure who’s serious, or who’s just doing it to tick boxes,” said Tiffany Morrissey, owner of the Keiki and the Pineapple.

“We are noticing that if we’re calling these people that they aren’t 100% giving us a call back,” said Mary Muncher, Buyer of Uloha. “Or they are scheduling an interview but not showing up for it.”

Both the Hawaii Restaurant Association (HRA) and Retail Merchants of Hawaii say they haven’t seen an uptick in applications.

Sheryl Matsuoka, executive director of HRA said between 75-80% of restaurants have job openings….

read … Hawaii businesses still struggling to hire as some unemployment benefits come to an end

Lawyers, Criminals Manipulating COVID Rules to Force Mass Releases

HTH: … Hawaii Community Correctional Center is in its fourth month of a COVID-19 lockdown which includes a halt to transportation of inmates for court hearings.

That, coupled with the suspension of grand jury panels and jury trials statewide, is causing concern about the lockdown’s effects on Big Island court cases.

The state Supreme Court on Aug. 19 issued an order temporarily suspending deadlines for the start of a preliminary hearing — a proceeding to determine probable cause to try a defendant.

Normally, courts are required to begin a preliminary hearing no more than two days after the initial appearance of a defendant who is in custody and within 30 days for a defendant who is not in custody.

The court’s order said HCCC “currently remains in lockdown with no transports occurring.” Transportation of inmates stopped in late May when the lockdown began.

The high court’s order is in effect until Oct. 4, the same date the suspension of jury trials and grand jury panels is set to expire.

“The order did encourage that the courts try to follow the rule … to the extent possible,” said Deputy Prosecutor Kelden Waltjen. “But they asked them to utilize remote technology. I think one of the issues we’ve been having is there are inmates who refuse to make appearances virtually.”

Keith Shigetomi, supervising attorney of the Public Defender’s office in Hilo, said defendants “have the right to be physically present” at preliminary hearings….

read … Advocates concerned inmates’ rights are being violated under current virus mandates

How a Child Molestation Conviction gets Overturned by Supreme Court

HLN: … During the trial, T.Y. testified that Williams sexually abused him on two occasions in 2012. He also testified that he told his friends about those incidents. S.S., one of the friends, testified about T.Y.’s “sudden change” in demeanor. Over the defense’s objection, S.S. testified that T.Y. “told me what happened” through a message and added that “I know that he wasn’t lying, obviously. He would tell me the truth.”

The prosecutor called C.Y., T.Y.’s father. He testified about an “odd incident” involving Williams. According to C.Y., Williams insisted on accompanying him on a drive from Kaneohe to Laie. During the drive, “all he could talk about was” T.Y. The defense objected on the grounds that that statement from Williams had never been disclosed in discovery and was a violation of the discovery rules. The prosecutor argued she did not know what Williams actually said and only knew about the fact that he was generally talking about T.Y. The circuit court sustained the objection. Despite the ruling, the prosecutor continued her line of questioning about the conversation. The defense objected two more times. They were sustained without a curative instruction.

The defense called three female non-family character witnesses to testify about Williams’s nonviolent and non-aggressive character, his honesty, and his integrity. During the cross-examination, the prosecutor asked each of them if “sucking a child’s penis is not something you would expect to see in public; right?” The defense objected and it was sustained.

The circuit court’s instructions included the generalized instruction to “disregard entirely any matter which the Court has ordered stricken.” Williams was found guilty as charged. He was sentenced to prison for twenty years. He appealed to the ICA, which agreed the prosecutor engaged in misconduct, but it was harmless. Williams petitioned to the HSC….

This case came down to credibility. The jury needed to determine if T.Y. was credible or Williams. The HSC held that the evidence here is not so overwhelming that the prejudice can be ignored. The judgment was vacated and remanded for a new trial….

read … Prosecutor's Discovery Violations, Violation of a Ruling In Limine, and Lurid Cross-Examination Require New Trial

Vandals tag JABSOM’s mobile medical van used to provide free care to homeless

SA: … Unknown suspects vandalized late Friday night or early this morning the John A. Burns School of Medicine’s medical service van used to provide free medical care and medications to Oahu’s homeless.

(And the homeless show their appreciation….)

Vandals spray painted with graffiti the H.O.M.E. Project van, a converted recreational vehicle, which was parked at the school in Kakaako. They also smashed its brake lights….

Earlier this year, the RV’s catalytic converter was stolen twice and a window was broken and items were stolen, JABSOM said in a news release….

Maui News Nov 2020: Theft leaves mobile hygiene unit for homeless ‘inoperable’

read … Vandals tag JABSOM’s mobile medical van used to provide free care to homeless

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