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NHPI COVID-19 Statement


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NHPI COVID-19 Statement

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NHPI COVID-19 Statement

  1. 1. NHPI 3R Statement – August 13, 2020 pg. 1 NATIVE HAWAIIAN & PACIFIC ISLAND COMMUNITIES IN HAWAII CALL FOR UNITY AND COLLABORATION “Every day they sit on these issues…more people will die” August 13, 2020 Contact: Kim Ku‘ulei Birnie 808-383-1651 On behalf of the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander COVID-19 Response, Recovery, and Resiliency Team, we are calling out and calling to task our County and State Government officials, which includes offices within the Hawaii State Department of Health, to take this pandemic seriously and push aside the politics. Our government leaders continue to be slow and effective in their responses to this crisis. They are slow to make critical public health decisions. They are quick to point the finger and pass the responsibility onto other agencies and community organizations. They use the bureaucratic red tape they created as an excuse for inaction. In short, they have failed the citizens of Hawai‘i. And, most negatively impacted by this failure are our Pacific Islander communities. One in every three cases is a Pacific Islander. We need our Government officials at the county and state levels to get their act together. We need strong, honest, and transparent leadership. We need them to work together in an organized and expeditious manner. We need them to quickly deploy the monies from the CARES Act and other resources to drastically and quickly increase the number of contract tracers in our communities, and these contact tracers need to come from our Pacific Islander communities to be effective. They need to ensure that people have both the physical and financial means to quarantine effectively should they need it – this means a physical place to quarantine and income for two weeks while under quarantine and ensuring they have a job to return to. They need to employ and deploy community health workers from the communities most impacted, such as Pacific Islanders, to work with families and communities in protecting themselves and stopping the spread. Our Government leaders and agencies need to be held accountable and faithfully carry out the duties imposed upon them. Each day they sit on these issues, more and more people are getting COVID-19, more and more people are being hospitalized, and more people will die. These are our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Our leaders can do better because we deserve better. The Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Hawai‘i COVID-19 Response, Recovery & Resilience Team (NHPI 3R) was established in May 2020, in alignment with the national NHPI Response Team, to improve the collection and reporting of accurate data, identify and lend support to initiatives across the Hawaiian
  2. 2. NHPI 3R Statement – August 13, 2020 pg. 2 Islands working to address COVID-19 among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and unify to establish a presence in the decision-making processes and policies that impact our communities. The priority issues to our communities are: • Contact tracing: o Expedite the hiring of all the contract tracers trained (400 reported). The handful that are currently hired are overwhelmed and inadequate in number to be effective. DOH not to hire as employees but contract with established community providers o Change the eligibility criteria for contact tracers to include persons with a high school degree plus experience in community health o Hire Pacific Islanders from the communities most affected to conduct education outreach and contact tracing (or to work with contact tracers). They have the cultural and linguistic knowledge to be effective in these communities o Expand CTs to allow for other training opportunities (Pearson and John Hopkins) o Identify and train to establish state-wide community-based contact tracing teams. Ask for $500K- $1M • Personal Protective Equipment: o Masks and sanitizers need to be distributed to communities most affected and whose economic situation makes it difficult for them to secure on their own. • Assisting with quarantining: o Provide free housing to people needing to be quarantined because many live in large multigenerational homes that make it impossible to isolate themselves in that home and their economic situation makes it impossible for them to afford a short-term rental o Also, guarantee 2-weeks pay for those who need to quarantine and that employers will hold their jobs o Why participate in tracing if someone will be out of work and income for that time and possibly out of a job o SNAP benefits: If they are quarantined, no grocery delivery services currently accept SNAP cards online for payment. In the long term, the state needs to push grocery stores to accept SNAP for grocery delivery. In the short term, those affected need to be given gift cards to allow them to purchase food and cover delivery costs • Outreach: o Targeted but culturally appropriate PSAs and other educational materials are needed. Already developed by other PI national partners and need to use those to eliminate additional costs o PI community health workers need to be hired to work directly with PI families, communities, and organizations that work with PI communities and be included in the tracing team as an critical component (if CHW are not trained as CTs)
  3. 3. NHPI 3R Statement – August 13, 2020 pg. 3 NHPI 3R Co-Leads: Sheri Daniels Jocelyn Howard J. Keawe‘aimoku Kaholokula Felea‘i Tau # # #