The Filipino community in Hawaii is a vibrant and diverse one, with 1,453 respondents reporting some form of Filipino heritage and 904 identifying as Filipinos. To ensure that the community is provided with culturally and ethnolinguistically appropriate education and services, organizations such as FilCom CARES have been established. This new Philippine Community Center project was created during the pandemic to draw attention to the need for testing, locating contacts, and preparing for vaccination clinics. A descriptive analysis of the data was conducted to provide an overview of the COVID-19 burden for Filipinos in Hawaii.
The results showed that Filipinos still account for around 20% of the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state, and that hospitalization and mortality rates among Filipinos have not changed significantly since the end of last year. The data also revealed that Filipino respondents were struggling with prevention, care, and knowledge about the mitigation of COVID-19. It is important to note that 76% of Filipino respondents were women, which may not accurately represent the state's Filipino population. In order to combat isolation and facilitate connectivity, it is essential to work with Filipino working groups, local partners, and state agencies to ensure that culturally appropriate mental health services are provided for Filipinos, the cultural stigma of mental health in Filipinos is addressed, translation services are provided for all mental health services, and collaboration with faith-based organizations and outreach groups is established. The results of this evaluation also showed that a higher percentage of Filipino respondents estimated that challenges were more important than all respondents in the state when it came to having enough money to pay for basic everyday items.
In response to these findings, FilCom CARES created a volunteer corps that established COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics with the support of Kaiser Permanente, Kalihi-Palama Health Center, Wahiawa Health, Project Vision Hawai'i, Premier Medical Group Hawai'i and the UH Clinical Laboratory for Tropical Medicine at the FilCom Center. The final recommendation is to provide support and funding to those who are already working to address the deep and diverse needs of the Filipino community. People who need telephone assistance should have access to translators or speakers who can speak in Filipino languages.