HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced a new partnership with the Hawaii Primary Care Association and Oahu’s seven community health centers that will work to help Oahu’s COVID-19 patients and their families during the recovery process.
The initiative, funded by $10 million of CARES Act money, will provide contact tracing, health care navigation and other services to support families whose household has been exposed to COVID-19.
“Making O‘ahu COVID-safe depends on giving everyone who may have been exposed to the coronavirus access to the care and support they need,” said Mayor Caldwell. “The health care professionals at our island’s community health centers do more than provide quality medical care. They care for the well-being of patients and entire communities and that’s what Oahu needs to recover from COVID-19.”
“It didn’t take a lot to guess that Kalihi was going to be one of those areas that was most impacted by the virus,” explained Dr. David Derauf of Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services. “And surely enough this summer, we saw that this was the center of the storm for Hawaii for COVID.”
Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services quickly became a treatment facility and assisted over 550 COVID-positive residents, but many struggled financially and the virus was able to spread as many live in multi-generational homes.
“It takes tremendous support to stay home from work and worry about putting food on the table and being able to afford to pay rent for two weeks so you can do the right thing and stay home to keep your community safe,” Dr. Derauf continued.
He said in the last six weeks, they have been able to provide $500,000 in economic assistance including rental assistance, groceries and supplies for families impacted by the virus.
According to the City, services for households will include anything from daily wellness support to food and medication delivery as well as assistance to family members for care after hours or in an emergency.
The mayor says he hopes this encourages income earners to self-quarantine if they test positive for the virus, because their family would be financially supported.
“This program will work to help these income earners worry less so they can isolate and quarantine and know their families are taken care of,” Caldwell explained.
Community health centers on O‘ahu include:
- Kalihi-Pālama Health Center
- Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services
- Ko‘olauloa Health Center
- Wahiawā Health
- Wai‘anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center
- Waikīkī Health
- Waimānalo Health Center
“I would encourage anybody who needs help, to really come down here or make a call to the health center, especially if they need quarantine facilities, a lot of our residents who live in crowded conditions, they can’t quarantine safely away from their families, and that further spreads the disease,” said Honolulu City Council member Joey Manahan.
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