A group of local entrepreneurs have created a data-collection website to help slow COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi. Their mission is to get Hawaiʻi Towards Zero (HTZ) cases of the virus.
The founders of the HTZ website include Denise Sangalang, senior Rose Wong of University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's Shidler College of Business and UH alumni Traven Watase and Leo Koloamatangi.
“We’ve all been affected by COVID-19 somehow,” Wong said. “We’ve seen so many businesses close down, people losing their jobs around us, families suffering because a family member got the virus.”
The website was set up in only a week.
“We won’t stop there until we get the word out to a large majority of the Hawaiʻi population,” Wong said.
The HTZ website, along with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, allow users to register their symptoms, location and risk factors to a database with the goal of guiding Hawaiʻi to zero cases of COVID-19.
“Everyone's talking about ‘flattening the curve,’” Watase said. "The idea is, like, can we inspire people to get behind the initiative to get the COVID infections to zero?"
The information logged by users is stored confidentially in a secure database and then distributed to government and public health authorities. The more user information that is collected, the more accurate and effective the website will be for health authorities and state officials.
Once users have registered with the site, they have access to a host of virtual resources to help guide them through the pandemic. These include a resource index with a list of links for local businesses, health advice and financial tips. Included in the index is a live-tracker of the virus as it makes its way through the state.
“Another big aspect is providing the right information to the community and getting everyone on the same page of what COVID-19 is and the steps necessary as a community to attain this goal. It is vital to come together as a community to get everyone to do their part,” Wong said.
A live 24/7 chat-box is also available on the website for users with questions or concerns. The chat-box reflects the recommendations made by the Center for Disease Control and the regulations put in place by Hawaiʻi health authorities.
Along with a chat-box, the website will soon have a hotline that you can call if you have an immediate or specific question or concern.
There is also a pledge available for signing for users wanting to commit to practicing safe social distancing and healthy choices during the pandemic. Once pledged, users can share on their social media accounts to get awareness out into the community.
“The pledge is a way to say to your community, ‘I am here for you. I will be alert, cautious and thoughtful. I will do my part to protect my loved ones and community. I will expand my heart to think of others living in fear,’” Wong said.
HTZ is currently looking for volunteer nurses and doctors that would be willing to help with the chat-box or hotline center. If interested, email email@example.com or call (808) 468-7943.
If you or someone you know has symptoms of COVID-19, go to hawaiitowardszero.org/