The Department of Health (DOH) and the University of Hawaiʻi unveiled a new infographic report and dashboard this week to track COVID-19 isolation and quarantine data on the island of Oʻahu. Tracking Hawaiʻi’sprevention and mitigation efforts is critical to keeping the number of positive cases in-check as the COVID-19 vaccine is rolled out to priority groups across the state.
“Isolation and quarantine are critical components of the COVID-19 control strategy,” said health director Dr. Libby Char. “Having these services readily available helps individuals who test positive or who have been close contacts adhere to public health guidance and prevent community exposure.”
The new dashboard shows that, since August 2020:
- More than 4,100 requests were made for isolation and quarantine, COVID-19 testing, food assistance, or other support services;
- More than 3,900 individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic were provided with isolation and quarantine services; and
- More than 1,700 individuals who could not safely isolate or be quarantined in their own homes, often because of a lack of space received isolation and quarantine placement.
The dashboard was made possible through the Behavioral Health and Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group (BHHSURG), a collective of state and county agencies and other organizations that formed in August 2020 to collaboratively address Oʻahu’s consistently high numbers of COVID-19 cases in a single day. The group began to identify the services needed in the community and tracked the services that were provided.
“We appreciate our partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi and other high-performing organizations that allowed us to quickly address ways to control the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Edward Mersereau, director the Behavioral Health Administration (BHA). “Many in our community have difficulty accessing COVID-19 testing, food, or a safe place to isolate or quarantine. We were able to address the disparities and health equity issues in our state that were exacerbated by the pandemic.”
BHA partnered with several organizations, including the City and County of Honolulu’s Office of Housing to arrange for hotels to provide isolation and quarantine accommodations, Project Vision to conduct COVID-19 testing, Banquet Solutions Hawaiʻi for transportation, and Institute for Human Services, North Shore Mental Health, Partners in Development Foundation, Hawaiʻi Health and Harm Reduction Center, Community Empowerment Resources, and Hawaiʻi CARES for case management.
Hawaiʻi CARES (Coordinated Access Resource Entry System) is a 24/7 hotline jointly operated by the BHA and UH. In addition to providing crisis support, mental health resources and access to substance use treatment services, the service also enables individuals to receive support for COVID-19-related services such as isolation and quarantine.
DOH-led support services met the expected demand for external isolation and quarantine despite the surging numbers of cases. “The data tells us that 9 percent of the state’s population were unable to safely isolate and quarantine in their own homes, and we were able to exceed that percentage in external isolation and quarantine placement,” said Victoria Fan, principal investigator of Hawaiʻi CARES and the UH Pacific Health Analytics Collaborative.
The dashboard also shows that:
- Food or other services were delivered to over 1,300 individuals who were self-isolating or self-quarantining at home;
- Transportation services were provided to 1,157 individuals who were not able to drive to isolation and quarantine;
- Room capacity for isolation and quarantine increased from 80 units to 554 units; and
- Of the individuals who received placement at the hotels, there were over 266 individuals who were homeless and over 156 individuals with behavioral health issues.
If you need COVID-19 isolation and quarantine assistance, crisis support, mental health resources or substance use treatment services, call Hawaiʻi CARES at 1 (800) 753-6879 or text ‘ALOHA’ to 741741.