HONOLULU (KHON2) — Fifteen state libraries in underserved areas across the state will receive COVID-19 health and digital navigators, as well as telehealth services.

The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), Hawaii State Public Library System and the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center at UH Mānoa have all partnered up for this project, which is set to start by the end of the year.

“This collaboration is a unique opportunity to help Hawai‘i families in underserved communities move towards health and digital equity,” said Sylvia Mann, DOH’s genomics section supervisor.

Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the project costs $3.7 million and will help COVID-19 health disparities, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

One aspect of the project will be to train high school and undergraduate students to assist others in learning how to use the computer and access the internet to use telehealth services, gain information and find services related to COVID-19 and other health concerns. Libraries will also be equipped with private rooms and equipment for telehealth visits and allow cellular hotspot units to be borrowed for use at home.

The 15 state libraries include Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, Hāna, Kīhei, Waimea, Princeville, Hanapēpē, Pāhoa, North Kohala, Hilo, Waiʻanae, Kahuku, Waimānalo, Wahiawā and Waipahu.

In 2022, mobile clinic vans are also set to arrive and will rotate between library parking lots on each island to allow in-person and telehealth services.