Ka Hale A Ke Ola
Homeless Resource Center
*** Notice of Agency Action Regarding the COVID-19 Virus ***
April 17, 2020
KHAKO Shelter Created Early Action Plan to Protect Guests From COVID-19
Two individuals from the Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center (KHAKO) in Wailuku were moved to a Hawai‘i Department of Health quarantine facility after one of them tested positive for COVID-19 on April 15.
One or the individuals was doing well in the shelter when the facility received a call from Maui Memorial Medical Center reporting that he had been a patient at MMMC when the infection cluster had occurred. He was tested on April 14 and was put into isolation on the same day at the Ka Hale A Ke Ola property while awaiting results.
The other individual was also put into isolation at the Wailuku facility. On Wednesday night, the state Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that the first individual had tested positive. On Thursday, April 16, DOH personnel placed both of them off-site in a quarantine facility at an undisclosed location. The second individual is awaiting results.
KHAKO Executive Director Monique Yamashita said that of the 205 guests at the facility, none had reported symptoms.
According to Yamashita, a strict COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Prevention/Action Plan was put in place and distributed to all KHAKO residents (called guests) on March 13, when there were no active COVID-19 cases reported on Maui.
“Our mission is to protect our guests at all times, and we are especially focused on prevention and safety during this pandemic,” said Yamashita.
As a preventative measure to help ensure the COVID-19 virus did not affect the shelter facility, the agency posted and distributed its mitigation plan to all guests, “effective immediately and until further notice” on March 13.
Steps included, guests notifying the agency upon any signs and symptoms of the COVID-19 in themselves or others—shortness of breath, high fever and/or coughing. Guests were advised to be alert to any emerging signs or symptoms of illness, such as diarrhea, fever, general malaise, excessive tiredness, changes in behavior or other symptoms.
No visitors are allowed on shelter property. A case manager must be informed about any site visits anticipated or scheduled with community workers. In-person meetings will occur only when unavoidable. No walk-in appointments are allowed. Guests should instead call case managers using phone numbers posted.
The facility also posted and distributed infection control measure guidance to guests and community workers permitted entry to prevent exposure and the spread of infection. The measures include frequent handwashing (posted in kitchens, washrooms and other areas), sanitization of restroom facilities (especially in common-use areas) and using safe food-handling protocols.
Guests were advised to maintain good personal hygiene and not share personal toilet articles, eating utensils or cigarettes. Other safeguards included coughing or sneezing away from others into your arm/bicep area. Guests were asked to avoid touching their eyes or mouth, and cuts or punctures from sharp objects that may have been in contact with someone else’s blood or body fluids.
Yamashita underscored that the facility implemented safety measures weeks ago in anticipation of a worst-case scenario. Measures included taking all guests out of the dormitory area, which did not meet the six-foot space requirement for social distancing and moving them into two-bedroom units. Instead of 32 men in dormitory quarters, four to five individuals now share two-bedroom units on property.
The smaller women’s dorm was transformed into an isolation area, and was where the two isolated individuals were initially held while awaiting results.
Regarding the recent incident of infection, Yamashita said the staff members who had interactions with the two guests underwent testing Thursday morning and will remain in isolation as the administration awaits expedited testing results. The facility will await a doctor’s report to determine when they could return to work.
Regarding the two initially placed in isolation at the facility, Yamashita said she “let the Department of Health know that we cannot quarantine them on this property,” although she noted that extra precautions were taken while the two were in isolation. “Protocols were in place to minimize exposure to staff and guests on property.”
While in isolation, the individuals remained in their room and were notified when meals were available; staff placed the food just outside the room.
Yamashita has requested testing other guests, saying it would help to provide some assurance that the remaining guests are safe.
Dr. Lorrin Pang with the Maui District Health Office arrived on property Thursday to answer questions and provide information on next steps at the facility for the guests and staff.
Yamashita said the facility is in need of masks and other donations, such as food boxes for the families. As another safeguard, she asks that those willing to make donations call (808) 242-7600 to arrange a drop-off rather than entering the facility grounds.
COVID-19 Precaution Measures
The health, safety, and welfare of those individuals and families utilizing services at Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers, Inc. is of the utmost importance to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all. The COVID-19 virus has the potential to adversely affect the community and KHAKO is taking this threat very seriously. At our shelters, we are putting great emphasis of processes and procedures that support the highest standard possible to ensure cleanliness to mitigate the possibility of infectious disease outbreak.
Some of the most important areas of focus are:
Education: 1) Guests provided an outline of general sanitation practices to employ daily and more frequently as needed, 2) Guidance from the State Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and other governmental and private healthcare agencies will educate Guests on prevention, signs, symptoms, and healthcare options (when to seek medical assistance).
General Sanitation: 1) increased cleaning of communal areas, 2) readily available and accessible cleaning and sanitation supplies, 3) routine sanitation schedule, 4) proper handling and disposal of waste, and 5) plan for isolation and shelter in place when necessary.
Food Production and Handling: 1) monitoring food handlers for illness, 2) serving and storing food at required temperatures, 3) proper handwashing and food handling, 4) ensure everyone uses proper hygiene sanitation at dining facility entry and exit after completing meals and avoid repeated entry/exit.
Staff Awareness and Education: 1) understanding and working knowledge of KHAKO Infectious Disease Outbreak Policy and Procedures, 2) training and familiarization of general sanitation practices for shelters.
Operationally, the agency will continue to end the cycle of homelessness by bringing unsheltered individuals and families into the facility, when space if available and if they are COVID-19 symptom free. All shelter services continue to be offered with the extra standards in place to mitigate the spread of any infectious disease, such as COVID-19.
Procedural adjustments implemented to reduce the risk of infection disease to include:
- Visitor restriction policy
- Allowed visitors: food vendor deliveries, mail carrier, Bldg. 7 construction workers, child care center clients
- No Guests’ Visitors. If Guests are receiving services from community agencies (e.g. VA, CWS, etc), then case manager must be informed about any site visits by community workers for check-in at administration office
- All group meetings (12 step programs, etc), community agencies (Maui AIDS Foundation,,etc), visiting groups (K9 Crew, etc), and other similar entities suspended until further notice
- Sponsored meal program:
- Delivery of meals from certified kitchens only
- No on-site meal preparation from sponsors
- Front door of administration office entry barriers. Scheduled appointments only.
- Screening at door
- Do you have symptoms including but not limited to coughing, sneezing, or elevated temperature?
- Does anyone in your household have symptoms including but not limited to coughing, sneezing, or elevated temperature?
- Have you had contact with anyone with a positive for COVID-19/coronavirus?
- If respondent says YES to any of the screening questions OR If respondent says no to questions, but there are visible/audible signs for symptoms then person will be asked to seek medical attention immediately.
- Case Management
- Case management by phone or correspondence only until further notice.
- In-person meetings only if absolutely necessary (e.g. signing documents, etc.)
- No walk-in appointments. Guest will be instructed to complete a meeting request form and advised that response to inquiry within 24 hours.
Additional Measures/Considerations – TBD based on daily updates and events.
- Screening at door
At Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers, Inc. we are committed to doing what’s right and best to protect our guests, tenants, staff, and vendors, and to do our part to prevent the transmission of the Corona Virus (COVID-19).
“The House of Life”
Ka Hale A Ke Ola is a comprehensive resource center that provides emergency and transitional shelter, adult education and training, counseling, a primary care medical clinic and facilities for child care. KHAKO is dedicated to serving the needs of the homeless and hungry on Maui by providing emergency food and housing, voicing their concerns, and empowering participants to take responsibility for their own lives, and to call on the community to assist in these actions.