State, counties continue to protect public health

Posted on Dec 29, 2020 in Capitol Connection, Featured
 DOH director Dr. Libby Char

DOH director Dr. Libby Char

As the state mobilized to respond to COVID-19, people have turned to Hawai‘i’s Department of Health (DOH) for leadership and guidance for this mysterious new virus. DOH continues to update its HawaiiCovid19.com website and COVID-19 data dashboard to provide the latest information and advice to the public and support decision-making for schools, businesses and travel. DOH has worked with more than 150 representatives from over 90 organizations to develop the state’s vaccination plan. What will 2021 look like for living with COVID-19? “Hawai‘i is in a good place, but, even with a vaccine, we’re going to be wearing masks for a while because we know they work. Meanwhile, prevention is the key. So let’s help each other, pull together and be kind to each other,” said DOH director Dr. Libby Char.

Everyone is urged to keep wearing their masks to prevent community spread of COVID-19. (photo credit: OneOahu.org)

Everyone is urged to keep wearing their masks to prevent community spread of COVID-19. (photo credit: OneOahu.org)

Improved systems to respond to the virus – As the number of cases climbed in the state, DOH has created a more efficient system of disease investigators and contact tracers, in collaboration with the Hawai‘i National Guard and the University of Hawai‘i. DOH also worked to develop a multi-organizational campaign to reach Pacific Islanders and the state’s large immigrant population as well as the Hawai‘i CARES program for those who needed to self-isolate and/or quarantine. As of Nov. 22, the program helped more than 1,600 individuals, including 400 families, while providing 24/7 crisis support.

Multi-media campaigns to prevent the spread of COVID-19 – Since the start of the pandemic, DOH, HI-EMA, and other community partners have launched campaigns to encourage everyone to mask up and follow safe practices to prevent spread of the virus. DOH has also partnered with Mānoa Now and the UH School of Social Work to reach young adults through social media, a mobile app and other student-produced media. Behavioral Health and Homeless Statewide Unified Response Group – Led by DOH and the governor’s coordinator on homelessness, this group managed isolation and quarantine services among behavioral health and homeless people and provided 482,479 units of personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline mental health workers.

Read more in the January Capitol Connection newsletter
Subscribe to the Capitol Connection newsletter