Remember our ancestral teachings and we 'will continue to survive' this pandemic

Dr. Lynnae Lawrence

Indian Country Today

Comments from Hawaii: Always keep positive and remember our cultures. We've survived for thousands of years and will continue to survive

It's been three months since the novel coronavirus has hit the country. This global pandemic closed the economy. People have been staying at home, social distancing, and of course everyone is vigorously washing their hands. In Hawaii, like many other states, businesses are reopening and people are venturing out. 

Indian Country Today features Dr. Lynnae Lawrence. She works for the VA Pacific Islands Healthcare System in Honolulu. 

Lawrence talks about how the pandemic is being addressed in Hawaii. Here are a few of her comments: 

“Well, here in Hawaii, the numbers have luckily been very low.”

“I think we're one of the lowest states per capita with coronavirus infections, but the government has been very proactive in shutting things down early and extending the stay at home orders.”

“The best advice still really is to stay at home rather than going out in public. Of course, you want to make those trips only as needed and to wear the face mask, keep your hands washed and minimize that contact as much as possible.”

"You can't go into any business without a face mask, but people are also wearing them obviously out in public when they're out exercising.”

“One of the newest things that I heard was that putting people on ventilators early may have actually been hurting them. So there are things changing all the time, as far as how to treat the virus and its mode of transmission.”

“We with the VA, we actually had implemented a telemedicine program. That's a little bit different. Normally, we provide care to veterans in the clinic via telemedicine.”

“Since about 2018, or so, there's been a push to do more of what we call visits to the home CVT to home. And so we had implemented a program here in the VA, the first of its kind, where we could call the veteran at their home for wherever they happen to be doing, if they had a smartphone.”

“I actually made quite a few calls to veterans in their cars because they're out and about, and it's time for their visit and they just sign into the virtual medical room.”

“We're very proud of that. And it was something that we just brought back with roaring success when the pandemic hit and we started closing the clinics, the ambulatory care clinics, and everybody was sent home to telework.”

“I think we increased our telemedicine visits overall by almost a 100 percent, if not more than that.”

“The veterans have always really loved telemedicine that we've been doing to the clinic because we have just a little bit more time for those visits.”

“Testing is readily available at multiple locations throughout the islands.”

“I have two grandsons who wanted to participate in a march locally. I had to take everything into account here in Hawaii, what our numbers were.”

“I had to take into consideration before I agreed to let us go down to participate in the Black Lives Matter March, which we did.”

“Obviously, the protests, the opening up of communities and cities, restaurants, all those things where there are more contacts is more likelihood for transmission.”

“We had a couple of days in a row where we had zero cases, so the numbers are really low. They opened the beaches and then this last weekend, we had like the first big number for us, which was six and then it went back down to one.”

”They think that that was a result of the beach opening on Memorial day weekend.”

“They are doing really good contact tracing here in Hawaii.”

“The one recent increase with the six new cases, they've been contact tracing that and they believe that comes from one particular gathering, a family gathering.”

“The Native Hawaiian population, have had 76 cases total in the whole of Hawaii. They do make up 13 percent of the total positive cases. Although, the Native Hawaiian population is 21 percent of the total Hawaiian state population. So they're doing pretty good, but the Pacific Islander population, not Hawaii, American Samoa, Tonga, those other islands, they've been hit proportionally higher.”

“There’s so much going on in 2020, there's so much going on that it can be disheartening.”

“It's just important for us to remember who we are and where we came from, our ancestral teachings.”

“We have to always be prepared because we never know what's going to come for us.”

“Always keep positive and remember our culture and where we came from. We've survived for thousands of years and will continue to survive.”

Also in the newscast, Jourdan Bennett-Begaye has the latest numbers of positive COVID-19 tests in Indian Country.

The anchor and executive producer of the newscast is Patty Talahongva. 

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