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With the high number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state, the Hawai‘i Department of Health will be introducing new metrics to assist in decision-making and to better track and manage the disease with a higher degree of accountability, announced Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson. The new metrics will augment existing metrics to assess the impact of policy changes and as a way for policymakers and the public to track the course of the outbreak.

The Department of Health will use these metrics to enhance the current dashboard to effectively evaluate the four pillars of the public health response: prevention, detection, containment and treatment. They will be updated daily or weekly, depending on the specific metric, and be posted on HawaiiCOVID19.com, the website created specifically for information on the pandemic for easier access and navigation.

“The Department of Health has been monitoring most of these measures since the beginning of the pandemic, such as the response time for contact tracing and the percentage of laboratory results that are positive. We have also been closely monitoring hospital capacity, including the number of hospital beds that are filled with COVID patients on any given day, said Anderson.

“The combination of all of these tools and evaluating them together will enable us to make better decisions,” said Anderson, noting the enhanced metrics were selected during meetings with district health officers and the counties led by Dr. PJanet Berreman, DOH’s Kaua‘i district health officer. “This is not just an academic exercise. The accessibility of this information on a public dashboard allows us to clearly see how well we are dealing with this pandemic, helps others understand why decisions are made, and holds all of us to a higher standard.”


Prevention The prevention-related metrics will track disease activity in Hawai‘i compared with other states and monitor implementation and compliance with safe practices. This will include metrics relating to face mask compliance. Prevention will also focus on food establishment enforcement metrics, including the number of complaints received on food establishments and the number of red placards that are issued.

Detection In addition to continuing to track the “epidemiological curve,” or cases per day over time by county and sources of exposure, detection-related metrics will include the number of tests completed and the percent of positive cases of those tested, and sources of exposure.

Containment Metrics relating to containment will include the percent of positive cases and contacts who are interviewed within 24 hours, the number of individuals and capacity of isolation and quarantine facilities, and laboratory testing turn-around time.

Treatment In collaboration with the Healthcare Association of Hawai‘i and hospital partners, the DOH will continue to monitor hospital capacity, including acute care bed occupancy by day and county for COVID-19 positive cases, intensive care unit bed occupancy and ventilator use by COVID patients.

These metrics are especially important now as the number of COVID-19 cases have continued to climb rapidly over the past few weeks in Hawai‘i and elsewhere in the country. The escalating disease rate may potentially require the state to resume tighter controls and restrictions to prevent the spread of the disease. This will be especially important as Hawai‘i prepares for the opening of schools and, potentially, the welcoming of trans-Pacific travelers.


PDF: Hawai‘i Department of Health announces new metrics to better track and manage the pandemic



The Hawai‘i Department of Health Clean Air Branch (DOH) has issued Notices and Finding of Violation and Orders (NOVOs) against four companies. All those responsible have or had the option to request a hearing to contest their alleged violations and penalties.


Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company at Camp 10 Quarry Rd., Maui, was cited for not conducting their 2017 and 2018 annual source performance tests on its 400 tons per hour Mobile Crushing plant. The violations were determined from an inspection and record reviews. A fine of $9,900 has been issued.


Jas W. Glover, Ltd., on Kaumuali‘i Highway at Halfway Bridge, Puhi, Kauai, was cited for exceeding their particulate matter permit limit on the asphalt batch plant. The drum mixer/dryer also exceeded its visible emission permit limit. The violations were self-reported, and the company was fined $8,800.


Powerscreen of California, was cited for late submittals of numerous written reports such as compliance certifications, annual emission and semi-annual reports. The violations were discovered during reviews of their two air permits and resulted in fines of $6,200 and $3,660. The company is currently negotiating a settlement with the DOH.


Tom’s Backhoe & Excavation Co., Inc, in Kula, Maui was cited for late submittals of numerous written reports such as compliance certifications, annual emission and semi-annual reports. The violations were discovered during an inspection and record reviews of their air permit. The company has paid a fine of $12,700.


The NOVOs are listed at:

http://health.hawaii.gov/cab/clean-air-branch/notice-and-finding-of-violation-downloads-pdf/


In general, fines are assessed to remove any economic benefit a company may have gained by not complying with their permit requirements. All fines are paid into a revolving fund that helps prevent or minimize damage to the environment.

The Clean Air Branch (CAB) protects the people and environment of Hawai‘i by monitoring air quality and regulating businesses that release pollutants into the air.


The CAB reviews and approves air permits, evaluates and enforces state and federal air standards, conducts inspections, and investigates reported incidents related to outdoor air quality. Through the air permit process, the DOH ensures companies comply with state and federal emission standards to minimize air pollution impacts on the public.


PDF: Hawai‘i Department of Health cites four companies for air permit violations



DAILY HAWAI‘I COVID-19 CASES EXCEEDS 200 FOR THE FIRST TIME 

Death toll rises to 31 after passing of two O'ahu men


All but but one (1) of the 201 newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases, reported by the Dept. of Health (DOH) today, is from O‘ahu. Maui has a single new case.


Health Director Bruce Anderson said, “Unfortunately, projections for increases in COVID case and ICU bed utilization are being realized.”  Many of the Intensive Care Units on O‘ahu are full or close to full and hospitals are surging, transferring patients, and opening new units to handle new patients.  ICU bed use on the Neighbor Islands has not changed significantly to date.


Yesterday, Governor Ige and Mayor Caldwell announced restrictions on large group gatherings, the closure of beaches and parks, and the reinstitution of a mandatory 14-day quarantine for any travel other than arrival on O‘ahu. “These actions are targeted toward what we know to be high risk activities,” said Anderson.


“Given the incubation period of COVID can be as long as 14 days, we are seeing the result of exposures a week or two ago and it will probably be at least a couple of weeks before we can expect to see the benefit of the restrictions on these activities and events on O‘ahu,” said Anderson. “We all need to act now. Avoid crowded places, closed spaces and close contact. Your life and the lives of your loved ones and friends will depend on it.”


For a second day in a row, DOH is reporting two deaths, as a result of the COVID-19 infection. Anderson said, “We send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the latest victims of this terrible disease. Their passing’s are a stark reminder of the realities today. Unfortunately, we are going to see more and more casualties as the surge of cases over the last few weeks continues and, sadly, more and more families and neighborhoods will experience the loss of loved ones.”


Both of the latest victims are men, and both are from O‘ahu One was older than 60-years-old and had been in the hospital. He died on August 4. He was exposed to a positive household member.


The second man passed away on Wednesday and was in the 40 to 59-year-old age group. His death was reported by the Honolulu Medical Examiner because he died at home, unattended. His family reported he had symptoms but did not seek medical care. Both men are said to have had underlying medical conditions and the health investigations into their deaths continues. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have now been 31 reported deaths in Hawai‘i associated with COVID-19.


Public health officials, including State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park, have warned that people getting together in social settings, whether it be on the beach, in a park, in a home, or anywhere else have let down their guard down and fail to maintain safe practices, which will inevitably to further spread of this virus.


On Thursday, State and County leaders issued a renewed plea for everyone to take personal responsibility and to maintain safe practices to stop the surge. They are also stepping up enforcement of emergency rules, by putting more police officers into the field to aggressively enforce the renewed restrictions in Honolulu, which include the closure of all county and state beaches and public parks.


People are encouraged to report violations:

COVID Enforcement Hotline at 723-3900 begins Sunday at 10 a.m. or

email hpdcovidenforce@honolulu.gov



www.hawaiicovid19.com



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