Mayor Kirk Caldwell reopening city parks for exercise, extending Honolulu stay-at-home order

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said today he is extending the stay-at-home, work-from-home order “with modifications” for Honolulu through May and is reopening city parks for exercise only, beginning 5 a.m. Saturday.

He also announced a $2 million program for about 10,000 more COVID-19 tests to be conducted by community centers around the island who provide health care for underserved populations. “In order to open up, we need to do more testing, a lot more testing,” he said.

Caldwell’s original stay-at-home, work-from-home order was set to expire at the end of the month.

At today’s press conference, Caldwell said some businesses may be allowed to open before May 31 if it is safe to do so. “If this (new positive coronavirus cases) stays low, we can start talking about opening up other things too — in a phased way,” Caldwell said.

“We’re not going to be returning to a new normal anytime soon …. not until there’s new treatment therapies that are aggressive and really show that if you get sick, you’re treated rapidly and you become well,” Caldwell said. “The end game is really a vaccine, which they project is 18 months away, 24 months away.”

The idea is to slowly reopen segments of society as safety allows “and at the end of the day, the order will disappear end and we’ll return to the life we lived before the pandemic struck.”

He said he expects sports or other entertainment events may be the last to reopen because they entail large numbers of people gathering in confined areas. “That doesn’t mean … we’re not going to see sports won’t be played, but we’ll be watching from afar, from our TV screens but not in person sitting in bleachers.”

Read more here

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell urges all Oahu residents to wear masks outside

Mayor Kirk Caldwell urged all Oahu residents today to wear face masks when going outside to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

“We’re asking all residents on this island, when you go outside, whether it is to shop, to jog, whatever it is you do, to wear a mask,” he said at a news conference this afternoon.

He said residents shouldn’t wear N95 masks, which are for first responders and in short supply, but should wear cloth masks that could be homemade or purchased.

“The point is, to wear a mask,” he said. “It doesn’t give you 100% protection. But it does protect you in two ways.”

He said there are folks who are asymptomatic who could transmit the virus without any signs of illness, and a mask could protect others from such a person. Masks also prevent people from touching their faces, he said.

“It’s a recommendation. A very, very strong recommendation,” he said. “Everyone on this island, when you go out in public, please wear a mask that you’ve either acquired or made that’s not an N95 mask or a surgical mask.”

Kuakini Medical Center emergency room doctor Darragh O’Carroll said up to 20% of those infected don’t show any symptoms so could be spreading the virus to others.

To watch Mayor Caldwell’s new conference, click here

Assistance available for homeowners, renters hit with financial hardship

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz continues to outline resources available for struggling residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

His office released an online guide for homeowners and renters who may be struggling to make payments due to a loss of income.

Assistance includes a delay in payments for homeowners with a federally-backed mortgage. There’s also a moratorium on evictions for most renters until July.

“Lots of Hawai‘i residents are struggling to make their mortgage or their rent, and these programs can help tens of thousands of people who need it,” said Sen. Schatz. “Please call either your mortgage servicer, your landlord, or a housing counselor to see if you are eligible for either forbearance or protections against being evicted.”

Schatz adds that more than 60 percent of all mortgages in Hawai‘i and across the country are backed by the federal government.

His guide for homeowners and renters comes a day after his office released a guide for struggling small businesses who were forced to close or cut staff.

To read more, click here:

What You Need To Know About Dengue

Earlier this month, Governor David Ige declared a state of emergency to fight mosquito borne illnesses including dengue fever and the Zika virus.  We urge all of our Hawaii Island members to take preemptive measures to prevent from getting or spreading the virus.

Below are a few questions and answers about Dengue fever:

Are the symptoms of dengue fever the same for everyone?

Some people who get dengue fever won’t develop any symptoms. Others will experience very severe symptoms, including abnormal bleeding and low blood pressure.

Severe dengue could be deadly, which is why state health officials are urging anyone who suspects they might have dengue fever to see a doctor.

Health officials say they haven’t seen any cases of severe dengue in this outbreak. All reported cases have been mild. But even a mild case can keep someone out of work or school for a week. Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, headache, eye and joint pain, and rash.

In other words, said Dr. Melissa Viray, state deputy epidemiologist, “It can run the gamut.”

Can someone get dengue fever more than once?

Dengue fever is a virus, which means once you have it, you develop an immunity.

But there are four types of dengue fever, so that means when you get dengue fever, you only develop immunity to one type of of the virus.

Technically, you could get dengue fever four times – once for each type. But that’s rare. And the good news is that the Hawaii cases have so far all been one type – called type 1 dengue.

Is there a dengue fever vaccine?

There is a vaccine, and it’s just been made available in Mexico. It’s not in the United States, though – and health officials aren’t exactly clamoring for it. That’s because while dengue fever is an occasional concern here in the islands, it’s a huge public health threat across central and Latin America.

What can be done to reduce the risk of getting dengue fever?

Health officials say you can do two things to protect yourself: Guard against bites and reduce mosquito populations on your property. That means wearing mosquito repellent, and long pants and long sleeves outdoors. To reduce mosquito populations, get rid of standing water on your property and clean out your gutters.

What should I do if I think I have dengue fever?

State health officials say anyone who suspects they might have dengue fever should see a doctor. That’s because while most people experience mild dengue fever symptoms, some people can develop severe dengue. Again, Hawaii hasn’t seen any cases of severe dengue, yet. But officials say residents shouldn’t take any chances.

“We want people to seek care,” said Viray, of the Health Department.

Are family pets at risk of developing dengue fever?

Family pets can get the dengue fever virus through mosquito bites, but they won’t develop any symptoms and they can’t pass the virus onto humans or other pets.

Is there anything you can do after getting bitten by a mosquito to reduce your chances of getting dengue?

If you’ve been bitten by an infected mosquito, you could get dengue — and there’s nothing you can do to reduce your risk. Health officials say your best bet is preventing bites in the first place. Use mosquito repellent, wear protective clothing, drain or dump standing water, and fix window screens.

If you get dengue, does the virus stay in your system and are there residual effects?

The dengue virus stays in a person’s blood for about a week, and then the body produces antibodies that get rid of the virus. Those antibodies remain in a person’s body forever.

There are no well-established long-term effects from dengue fever, according to health officials. However, some patients do report some effects, like hair loss, chronic fatigue and depression.

HMSA Plan Changes Effective April 1, 2016

By now, all eligible District 17 members that have HMSA should have received the notice in the mail regarding upcoming changes in their plans.  All changes take effect on April 1, 2016.  If you haven’t received your notice or you are unsure as to how it would affect you, please call the Health and Welfare Trust Fund at 847-1289 or 800-660-9126.

You may also call HMSA at 1 (800) 776-4672 toll free or the Trust Fund office in Alameda at 800-251-5014.

Know Your Numbers

One of the simplest and most effective ways of caring for your body is to “know your numbers.”

HMSA and Kaiser Permanente offer biometric screenings for participants and spouses/domestic partners that include:

  • Total Cholesterol & HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) to identify possible risk of heart conditions
  • Blood Glucose to indentify possible diabetes or pre-diabetes
  • Blood Pressure to identify possible hypertension or pre-hypertension
  • BMI (Body Mass Index) to indicate any vulnerabilities to weight-related health risks

Call the Trust Fund at 847-1289 with any questions you have regarding your medical coverage.

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Care For Your Body

Malama kou kino, Care for your body.

The Trustees of Hawaii Operating Engineers Industry Stabilization Fund believe that everyone should have the opportunity to pursue a healthy lifestyle. The wellness of participants and their family members is a critical factor in their quality of life–whether on the job, at home, or enjoying the best life the islands have to offer.

“Malama kou kino” represents our commitment to you and our hope that you will embrace the idea that caring for your body is one of the most important things you can do.

Our health and welfare plan helps participants and their families achieve health and financial security by providing access to safe, cost effective, high quality healthcare. This includes access to wellness programs and benefits offered by both HMSA and Kaiser Permanente.

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