State offers some assistance as lockdown begins


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Agencies from the Hawaiian Homes Commission, Department of Human Services, and the University of Hawaii convened to share how they are helping residents during this unprecedented time.

Before that took place, there was a special senate committee briefing on Wednesday where one senator expressed her concern about the first death initially thought to be caused by COVID-19.

“So how come you guys didn’t double-check and when did you double-check to find out?” asked Senator Donna Mercado Kim.

“We rely on the lab for the reporting. It’s a collaboration just like the clinicians rely on clinical labs for reporting. We rely on them to give us the correct report,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.

Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Anderson says they have made changes in their reporting procedures so that this does not happen again.

Also on Wednesday, the Hawaiian Homes Commission announced the deferral of mortgage payments from the Department’s direct loan program for 6 months to nearly 12-hundred individuals. Those with mortgages with private institutions are urged to contact their lender. The Department of Human Services says it will be limiting face-to-face contact.

“We have already begun to receive and process new applications for benefits and services in response to COVID19,” said Director Pankaj Bhanot. “I’d like to talk about first-time applicants if you’re applying for the first time use electronic fillable application that is available on the website.”

The University of Hawaii President announced they will be extending their application deadline to August 1 for the campus in Manoa, Hilo, and West Oahu for the next academic school year.

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