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Wednesday, September 8, 2021
September 8, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:42 PM :: 2518 Views

The Cost of Disinformation

COVID mandates lead to crisis of aloha

HSTA files class grievances over COVID school conditions, testing mandate

New COVID case averages dropping

TGI: … The state’s average daily number of new COVID-19 cases has dropped to 706 over the past seven days, according to the state Department of Health.

The seven-day average, recorded daily, had climbed to a recent high of 898 on Aug. 29.

“This may indicate a slight reprieve in the numbers that we’ve seen,” DOH Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble told reporters during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

“But we’re definitely not out of the woods yet … Remember that, a month ago, 700 would be an incredibly alarming case count for our islands.”

The doctor said it is too early to properly assess the apparent downturn, noting that such data is occasionally affected by changes in disease-testing trends. It’s unclear if there will be any surge associated with this past Labor Day weekend.

“I think we really need to see how things unfold in the coming weeks before drawing conclusions about where the case numbers are,” she said.

Kemble also noted the seven-day average does not take forthcoming hospitalizations and deaths stemming from previously reported cases into account. This means Hawai‘i hospitals will continue to face staffing and bed shortages, and families will still lose loved ones, regardless of any drop in new cases.

“Tragically, we do anticipate seeing many more deaths reported out in the coming weeks from the cases that we’ve already learned about,” Kemble said.

She also discussed the rise of COVID-19 within the state’s pediatric population, which makes up a quarter of Hawai‘i’s total case count.

She indicated the uptick is not surprising.

“As the total number of cases go up, we’re going to see more children who are diagnosed and who ultimately end up in the hospital, just because the overall numbers are increasing,” Kemble explained, adding that kids’ current ineligibility for the vaccine may also affect the proportional and actual number of cases among kids.

One non-resident child has died of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i to date, according to the DOH. Thirty-seven adults have died in the past seven days….

SA: Hawaii sees 380 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 69,144

Cataluna: The Shocking Pandemic Numbers No Longer Seem Shocking

read … New COVID case averages dropping

Thousands of businesses prepare to comply with Safe Access Oahu ― and brace for its impacts

HNN: … “I was not the happiest because it puts little extra steps telling people what they’re supposed to be doing,” said Patricia Carrera, co-owner of Hot Yoga Kapolei.

“I feel as the business owners, we shouldn’t be telling people what to do with their bodies, but I’m very grateful as a business owner that I can still be here providing services for my community.”

Some gyms say they’ve already begun to lose members.

But the YMCA said they’ve also seen folks sign up because people now feel safe. They said most of their members, however, are fully vaccinated.

“We don’t mind showing our vaccinations or we feel a lot better and safer,” said Karen Momohara, a YMCA member who frequents the Leeward branch.

The YMCA said it is supportive of the measure, especially since there’s an option for testing. But staff is worried about how that will play out.

“We do believe that the state and city has to provide more free access to testing that’s easily available and free for those folks that are making those choices,” said Lisa Ontai, vice president of marketing and mission advancement for the YMCA of Honolulu.….

read … Thousands of businesses prepare to comply with Safe Access Oahu ― and brace for its impacts

Oahu and Maui will start ‘vaccine pass’ programs. Will other counties follow suit?

HNN: … Kauai County says a “vaccine pass” program is being considered, but no decisions have been made….

Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said, at this point, it’s not likely he will implement a similar initiative.

“We’re trying at this time to bring our community together rather than rip them apart, you never want to see a community come apart,” Roth said. “The more we can bring people together to work on a situation, the more likely it is, we believe that we’re gonna have positive outcomes.”

Roth said some county services are being delayed due to staffing shortages from workers either testing positive for COVID or being close contacts of those who are infected….

HNN: While some residents support Maui County’s vaccine order for businesses, some say it’s unfair

read … Oahu and Maui will start ‘vaccine pass’ programs. Will other counties follow suit?

COVID surge strains Oahu’s EMS service, forcing some patients to wait for an ambulance

HNN: … “We’ve just been nonstop with calls,” said Honolulu EMS District 2 Field Operations Supervisor Jonathan Hong. “They’ve just been coming in one after another.”

Last week, Honolulu EMS transported a record number of COVID patients. A third of those calls came from the West Oahu district, which stretches from Waipahu to Makaha.

In the 22 years Hong has been with Honolulu EMS, he says he’s never seen anything like it.

“We’re so busy right now, calls are being stacked up,” he said. “People have to wait for an ambulance.”

Prior to the pandemic, Honolulu EMS would respond to an average of 250 calls a day.

Over the past month, call volume has jumped 32%. That means EMS crews are being dispatched to an additional 80 calls every day.

“There’s still a big amount of population here that are just sick from diabetes, chronic heart conditions stuff like that,” said Mobile Intensive Care Technician Jack Tausend.

With COVID on top of those calls, first responders are now treating people in respiratory distress just about every other call. “A typical shift, out of let’s say 10 calls, I would say at least half,” Tausend said.

Emergency Services Director Jim Ireland added, “We’re doing our very best to get you to the hospital expeditiously but the hospitals are also very busy, too.”

Meanwhile, emergency rooms are so congested EMS crews wait an average of 20 minutes to transfer care of a patient to the hospital, where beds are running short….

read … COVID surge strains Oahu’s EMS service, forcing some patients to wait for an ambulance

In bid to keep COVID patients out of hospitals, antibody clinics poised to ramp up in Hawaii

HNN: … Monoclonal antibody therapy is already offered in at least 12 medical facilities across the state to COVID patients 12 and up with underlying health conditions and with mild to moderate COVID symptoms. The treatment aims to keep infected people from being hospitalized.

Kaiser Permanente Maui Lani Medical Office in Kahului started antibody infusions last week by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which is under the FDA’s emergency use authorization.

“Today will be our 25th patient,” said Jill Riggs, director of Clinic Operations for Kaiser Clinics Maui.

“We had a gentleman about halfway through his infusion got his sense of smell back so it definitely got some chicken skin to the staff and myself who happened to be there,” she added.

Riggs says most patients were unvaccinated. They’ve seen no adverse reactions and the treatment decreases hospitalizations up to 70 to 80% in some cases….

The six sites for expanded antibody therapy with the federal aid are:

  • The Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Care Center
  • Maui Memorial Medical Center
  • Kaiser’s Moanalua Medical Center
  • Hilo Medical Center
  • Queen’s Medical Center West Oahu
  • And Pali Momi Medical Center.

Hilo Medical Center is already offering antibody infusion in its ER…..

read … In bid to keep COVID patients out of hospitals, antibody clinics poised to ramp up in Hawaii

Retired HPD trainer says officers in Sykap shooting case put themselves, others in danger

HNN: … John Frierson retired after 26 years on the force, and more than eight of those were spent at the police training academy.

He now lives in California but the city Prosecutor’s Office flew him in last month to testify at the preliminary hearing for Officers Geoffrey Thom, Christopher Fredeluces and Zackary Ah Nee after murder and attempted murder charges were filed.

Frierson, who reviewed the body camera videos, said that even though they were cleared of the criminal charges, the officers didn’t follow their training in the McCully shooting and put themselves and others in danger.

From the moment the chase ended on April 5, he said, there were issues with the officers’ orders.

“You’ve got somebody yelling, ‘put your hands up.’ You’ve got somebody yelling, ‘don’t move you.’ It’s supposed to be one voice, clear, concise instructions,” said Frierson.

“All you heard is everybody yelling, everybody yelling something different.”

Frierson said the officers then put themselves at risk by surrounding the stolen vehicle.

Thom was in the back, Fredeluces jumped over the hood of the car to get on the driver’s side, and Ah Nee walked up to the passenger’s door.

Frierson said they knew there were multiple passengers inside who were believed to be involved in armed robberies.

“The training is designed to set up in the rear of the vehicle and then extract one suspect at a time,” Frierson said, adding that would have also protected them from the car ― seen on surveillance video jerking forward, reversing, then moving forward again.

He said officers need to get out of the way instead pf putting themselves in the path of a moving vehicle.

Another concern: Frierson said Ah Nee had his gun in one hand as he tried to open the passenger door with the other. If the passenger had charged, Frierson said there could have been a fight over the weapon.

Frierson said he was also prepared to testify about Thom firing 10 shots into the back windshield of the car, loaded with passengers.

Frierson said there could have been people not involved in the reported armed robberies inside.

“We don’t know if they got picked up,” Frierson said.

“I need to know that everybody in that vehicle is a threat before I start firing into that vehicle.”

Frierson was not allowed to testify at the preliminary hearing because the District Court judge said the defense did not have time to prepare.

He would have only been allowed to take the stand if the defense team put their own expert on first, which they did not do.

Frierson said the reason he is going public with his analysis is that he hopes the department will use the body camera videos as a training tool to help officers with future critical incidents….

read … Retired HPD trainer says officers in Sykap shooting case put themselves, others in danger

Months After Delivery, Portable Cells Sit Unused At Hawaii’s Largest Jail

CB: … Two containers that are supposed to be used as medical isolation cells at the state’s largest jail are sitting unused more than eight months after they were delivered because prison officials discovered the jail’s aging electrical system cannot accommodate the extra load of the new cells.

The containers are configured into four cells each where inmates can be placed in quarantine to help control the spread of Covid-19 at the Oahu Community Correctional Center, where staff have been struggling to cope with a new wave of infections.

That jail now has 80 active cases of Covid-19 among the inmates, and the crowded conditions there and at other state correctional facilities are being blamed for the latest wave of infections….

read … Months After Delivery, Portable Cells Sit Unused At Hawaii’s Largest Jail

Here’s How Native Hawaiian Groups Are Using $38 Million In Federal Funds

CB: …The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services increased its annual federal funding for Papa Ola Lokahi and five Native Hawaiian Health Care Centers by $1.2 million from last year, totaling $18.2 million. And in August, the Hawaiian Healthcare Systems received an additional $20 million from the American Rescue Plan Act….

According to Papa Ola Lokahi communications officer Kim Birnie, the ARPA funds are allocated for the next two years and must be solely used for Native Hawaiians in Hawaii.

“Some people are reaching out to us saying, ‘Can the money go for this? Or that? Or can I apply for it?'” But Birnie said their ARPA money has a very specific purpose to increase vaccine, COVID-19 response and treatment capacity, sustain accessible health care services and deliver education and services.

POL Director Sheri Daniels said their $4.5 million grant will be spread across the islands, with about $3.4 million of their money going toward 14 partnering community-based Native Hawaiian health organizations.

“None of those funds sat in POL, they all went out into the community,” Daniels said, noting that they created and continue to manage the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Hawaii Covid-19 Team….

Waianae resident and Leeward Community College professor Lynette Cruz said that online appointment systems have been difficult to navigate, especially for her community.

She initially didn't want to get the Covid vaccine but changed her mind in late July when she walked into Longs Drugs and noticed their vaccine clinic. Cruz said they told her she could get her shot without an appointment, and with LCC deciding to hold some in-person classes, she decided to do it.

"I have a kuleana to make sure that I don't make anybody else sick, so I took it," she said….

read … Here’s How Native Hawaiian Groups Are Using $38 Million In Federal Funds

Hawaii is the Only State Sinking Serious Money into ‘Solar-plus-Batteries’

PVM: … Despite growth nationally, storage attachment rates of BTM solar installs remain low, the report said, with 6% of residential, and 2% of non-residential systems choosing to attach batteries at install.

Some states and utility territories had much higher storage attachment rates, especially Hawaii. There, roughly 80% of all residential and 40% of non-residential PV installations were paired with storage in 2020. The attachment rate was attributed to the state’s transition away from net metering….

Ten firms comprised roughly 60% of all U.S. residential PV and storage installs in 2020.  Sunrun and Tesla each accounted for about a 20% share. Most others in the top 10 were local firms in Hawaii and California….

read … Nobody else is fooled

ERS Money Sunk into New Hawaii climate technology fund

SA:  … Hawaii-founded Elemental Excelerator plans to unveil a $60 million early-stage venture capital fund today called Earthshot Ventures that will be the first climate technology fund with roots in the state.

The fund, which will invest in both hardware and software companies, is being launched to support entrepreneurs tackling climate change.

(CLUE: A movement becomes a business which becomes a racket.)

Earthshot Ventures is being spun off from Elemental Excelerator, a global climate tech organization that pioneered the use of the accelerator model for climate technologies. Since 2012, Elemental has evaluated over 5,000 companies, invested alongside 2,000 co-investors, and built an inclusive community to advance climate investing….

Earthshot Venture is being financially backed by Emerson Collective, John Doerr, Tom Steyer, McKinley Alaska, Microsoft, Employees’ Retirement System of Hawaii, Stafford Capital Partners, and Chris Cox.

“We built Earthshot Ventures to increase catalytic funding for bold and diverse founders (Hawaii tech schemers) who are transforming markets,” Lippert said. “Earthshot gives us a new tool to help founders tackle enormous challenges, while providing investors access to the world’s biggest growth opportunity: combating climate change.”

In addition, Launch Alaska, a clean technology accelerator and deployment engine that has worked closely with Elemental since its founding, also has partnered with Earthshot to provide assistance with the rate at which deals are being received, as well as help with access to customer networks.

read … New Hawaii climate technology fund to be unveiled

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