Hawaii Updates: Web Tools Aim To Speed Stimulus Checks; LG: Curve Is Flattening; Cases At 530

Apr 15, 2020

Updated: 4/15/2020, 2:30 p.m.

Residents can use IRS web tools to speed their federal stimulus checks to their bank accounts.

Those eligible for direct payments under the CARES Act -- including those who don't file income tax forms -- can provide their direct deposit information to the IRS, Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz and Congressman Ed Case said in a news release.

To be eligible for the stimulus checks, residents must:

  • Have a valid Social Security number.
  • Not be claimed as a dependent of another tapxpayer.
  • Had adusted grow income under certain limits.

The maximum payment under the CARES Act is about $1,200 per person or $2,400 per married couple, plus $500 for each dependent child under 17 years old. 

The payments are reduced for those with annual gross incomes over $75,000 and for married couples with incomes over $150,000. They phase out completely at over $99,000 for individuas and $198,000 for couples.

Many qualified income taxpayers who have banking information filed with the IRS will get their payments direct-deposited into their bank accounts.

Non-filters can go to irs.gov. On the top left of the homepage, look for "Non-Filers: Enter Payment Information Here."

“Payments will be made much faster and easier to Americans who have provided banking information, so we encourage all eligible Hawai’i residents who have not already done so to use these IRS portals to provide that information as soon as possible,” Schatz and Case said in their release.

 

Where Hawaii stands

The state's confirmed and presumed positive coronavirus cases number 530 today, up 13 from the previous day, according to the state's latest daily update. The death count stands at nine. 

Oahu's case count is now 369, Maui's 92, Hawaii County's 41, and Kauai' County's 21. One case is pending determination of county and six were diagnosed out of state.

Travel-related cases have dropped significantly and community-associated cases have been slowly rising.

Positive case reported at West Loch Elderly Village

One person was confirmed with COVID-19 at the West Loch Elderly Village, the city said in a news release today.

The person is no longer on the property and a thorough cleaning of common areas, including laundry rooms, has been conducted, according to the release.

The city's affordable rental project was originally built in 1993 with 150 units designed for low-income elderly. 

Notice of the case was delivered today to residents by the property's management agent contracted by the city.

More visitors arrive in the islands

Another 119 visitors arrived in the state yesterday, undeterred by a mandatory 14-day quarantine still in effect for the state. In addition to the tourists, there were 174 returning residents, 136 crew members, 49 intended residents and 34 transiting travelers.

During this period last year, nearly 30,000 passengers arrived in the islands daily.

LG: Stay-at-home efforts flattening the curve, warns of over-confidence

Lt. Gov. Josh Green says Hawaii’s stay-at-home efforts have effectively flattened the COVID-19 curve. The number of coronavirus cases in the state has exceeded 500. But Green says without these efforts we would have seen over 5,000 cases.

"Almost every state in the country would kill to have a curve like this because of the governor’s order to keep people at home and your self-sacrifice," Green said at a news briefing yesterday.

"That’s what a flattened curve looks like. But please don’t become over-confident. See this through to April 30th, That’s the only way we get out of this without extensions or additional suffering." 

Yesterday's Hawaii Updates: Caldwell mandates masks, 1 McDonald's employee infects 13

Green, an emergency room physician, said while other states have relied on models like the one from the University of Washington to guide their response, Hawaii has not been able to.

Green says the studies do not take into account Gov. David Ige’s efforts to shut down the state and flatten the curve.

The University of Washington model does account for the stay-at-home orders from the governor, but not the travel restrictions and quarantine policy.

Green says Hawaii is instead relying on the state health department’s data to inform its policies.

The Hawaii Data Collaborative, a local data analysis project, is working on a state-specific model of its own.

--HPR's Ashley Mizuo

Kula Hospital worker tests positive

At least one health care worker at Kula Hospital in Maui has tested positive for COVID-19. Sixteen people were tested because they were possibly exposed to the worker, who is a physical therapist at the hospital.

 

State Health Director Bruce Anderson says all except one of the 16 tests have come back negative. One was inconclusive and the state is re-running the test.

Kula Hospital is mainly used as a long-term care facility.

"All long-term care facilities are dealing with this issue. Obviously, they have a frail, vulnerable population and they are implementing stringent precautions. Some are refusing any visitor admissions, others have taken other steps. We have consulted with them and provided guidance to all long-term care facilities, including Kula," Anderson said.

 

Kula is the second hospital on Maui where the coronavirus has infected the staff.

At least 27 workers and 9 patients at Maui Memorial Medical Center have tested positive, with more results pending.

--HPR's Ashley Mizuo

Volunteer medical staff sought to help in case of surge

The Healthcare Association of Hawaii representing hospitals and the state Department of Health put out a call for medical professionals to volunteer as backup should there be a surge in coronavirus cases.

Licensed doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, radiologic technologists, emergency medical technicians, community health workers are specifically sought. Volunteers can be retired or out-of-state professionals and would be part of the Hawai'i Medical Reserve Corps. Non-medical workers are also needed. 

Volunteers can register on the health department website.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Editor's note: We’d like to hear how you’re coping with the latest developments in dealing with the spread of the coronavirus. You can call our talkback line at 808-792-8217. Or e-mail us at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.