Department of Health

Report Skims Surface on Hawaiʻi Cesspool Mess

Jan 11, 2018

Kahalu‘u and Upcountry Maui top the state’s list of priority areas for cesspool replacement. The state Department of Health shared its latest assessment of Hawai‘i’s nearly 88,000 cesspools with legislators yesterday. The report found half of those cesspools pose a potential risk of contaminating drinking water or coastal ecosystems and should be replaced as soon as possible. But exactly how to replace them and who’s going to pay for it remains in question. HPR’s Ku‘uwehi Hiraishi reports.

Department of Health Audited Over Disease Response

Jan 2, 2018
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Hawaii wrestled with three big public health scares linked to mosquitos, bad scallops, and bad seaweed. A legislative audit uncovered weaknesses in record keeping and the state’s response to the outbreaks.

Wayne Yoshioka

A statewide coalition of health professionals, educators, business and community representatives are teaming up to record oral health data in Hawai’i. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

Wayne Yoshioka

The state is hosting a Telehealth Summit this week with the goal of developing statewide coverage. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports. 

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

An annual statewide school vaccination program is being scaled back.

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Hawaiʻi’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened for business on Maui yesterday. The dispensary is one of two licensed to serve patients in Maui County. But what about patients living on Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi? HPR’s Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi has this story.

State Department of Health

The issue of underground fuel storage tanks at Red Hill was discussed today at the National Institute for Storage Tank Management conference.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

Andrew Nash / Flickr
Andrew Nash / Flickr

State Department of Health officials are investigating a case of Hepatitis A on Hawai‘i island.  That pushes the number of confirmed cases to 93. 

An employee of Sushi Shiono in Waikoloa tested positive... and all other employees were cleared.  DOH officials say the restaurant is safe, but they are asking patrons who visited the shop from July 5th through July 21st to watch for symptoms.

Dr. Melissa Viray is the Deputy State Epidemiologist for the DOH.

Steven Depolo / Flickr
Steven Depolo / Flickr

The State Department of Health is urging the public to seek vaccinations for hepatitis A following an increase in cases.  The number of cases on O‘ahu has grown to 52…with 16 of those people requiring hospitalization.

DOH officials are also investigating a confirmed case from an employee at a Baskins-Robbins in Waikele.  People who consumed food from the shop between June 1th, and July 3rd are being advised to contact healthcare providers to receive a vaccine or immune globulin.

Nick Yee
Nick Yee

Although there haven’t been any recent outbreaks of dengue fever … the threat of the Zika virus is still making the news. 

So the Hawai‘i State Department of Health is re-launching its “Fight the Bite” educational campaign about preventing mosquito borne disease.  The department is putting up educational posters in airports, in busses, and will soon be running a series of ads on TV and radio.

Officials are urging the public to take the same precautions that were taken for dengue fever.  Anna Koethe is the Public Health Information Coordinator with the DOH.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Governor David Ige says the biggest outbreak of dengue fever ever recorded in Hawai‘i appears to be over.

Ige says state officials still need to be vigilant about controlling mosquitoes….but he thanked lawmakers for restoring funding for positions to battle the outbreak.

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority CEO George Szigeti said the today’s announcement is a vote of confidence for visitors to the state and to Hawai‘i Island.

The outbreak of dengue fever started in September….and sickened a total of 264 people. The last case was reported on March 17th.

Pixabay Commons
Pixabay Commons

If a major catastrophe would ever hit Hawai‘i and we exhausted our supply of medication there is a fall back plan.  The US strategic national stockpile of medicine and supplies could be tapped and delivered within 12 hours.

The Department of Health would distribute that medication to the public through “points of distribution” or “pods” spread out across the state.

Alejandro Forero Cuervo / Flickr
Alejandro Forero Cuervo / Flickr

The State Department of Health has selected the on-line “seed-to-sale” tracking system that will manage Hawai‘i’s medical marijuana inventory.

Florida based BioTrackTHC was awarded the contract yesterday.  Their system will track every plant with a unique number, measuring each fraction-of-a-gram of cannabis from seed, through sale. Patrick Vo is the CEO of BioTrack THC. He says the system is important to bring transparency and accountability to cannabis operations.  

Mariah OConnell / Flickr
Mariah OConnell / Flickr

Hawaii will become the first state in the nation to raise the minimum age for tobacco sales to 21 beginning on January 1st.  A secondary measure will prohibit the sales of electronic cigarettes (E-Cigarettes) to anyone under 21.

Brett Levin / Flickr
Brett Levin / Flickr

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health has released operation guidelines for the medical marijuana licensing program.

Under the current law, the DOH will establish eight dispensaries – three on O‘ahu, two for both Maui and Hawai‘i Island, and one for Kaua‘i. The rules explain the process for awarding dispensary licenses, and outlines security, safety, and tracking requirements.

Earlier this month the department announced that an on-line “seed to sale” system will be installed to track all marijuana in the islands.

Hawaii Health Data Workshop
Hawaii Health Data Workshop

Getting a view into Hawai‘i’s current state of health may be a little easier thanks to a new website from the State Department of Health.

The Hawaii Health Data Warehouse is a collection of information gathered from surveys conducted year round.  Today the DOH released a new interactive query tool called the “Indicator-Based Information System” or “IBIS”.  Ginny Pressler is the Director of the Department of Health.  She says the new platform puts Hawaii’s health data at the public’s fingertips.

Wayne Yoshioka

State lawmakers were briefed today on where health agencies and medical facilities are in preparing for infectious disease outbreaks like Ebola.   HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.    

Wayne Yoshioka

The Department of Health registers more than 40,000 marriage licenses and birth certificates each year.   Today, state officials dedicated a newly renovated lobby for one of the most highly used public spaces.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.    

Maui County Settles Land Fill Violations

Jul 18, 2014
Flickr Commons
Flickr Commons

 

   Maui County reached a settlement with the state Heath Department this week for violations at two landfills. As part of the deal, the county has also agreed to develop a program to help residents safely dispose of hazardous materials. Eileen Chao has more from the Maui News.  

Wayne Yoshioka

State Department of Health Director, Loretta Fuddy, died in a light plane crash off the island of Moloka’i Wednesday afternoon.  The single-engine Makani Kai commuter plane, with 9 passengers on board, crashed into the sea about a half-a-mile from the Kalaupapa Peninsula.   Director Fuddy and Deputy Director, Keith Yamamoto, were flying back to Honolulu following their annual visit to the former Leprosy Colony.  The Department of Health conducted a short memorial service for their Director along with other state officials and the Governor.   Fuddy’s niece, Kimberlee Rene Greer, thanked the