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Hawaii unemployment call center shuts down after staffer tests positive for COVID-19

STAR-ADVERTISER
                                Volunteers at the Hawai‘i Convention Center learned how to process the backlog of unemployment claims on April 20. The state announced today that its general call queue for unemployment insurance assistance will be unavailable today after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.
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STAR-ADVERTISER

Volunteers at the Hawai‘i Convention Center learned how to process the backlog of unemployment claims on April 20. The state announced today that its general call queue for unemployment insurance assistance will be unavailable today after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

The state announced today that its general call queue for unemployment insurance assistance will be unavailable today after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations shut down operations at the call center at the Hawai‘i Convention Center ballroom in Waikiki after the staff member tested positive on Wednesday. The call center fields general inquiries.

The DLIR said it is conferring with and following the guidance of the Hawaii Department of Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in its response to the positive test. DLIR anticipates resuming normal operations next Monday.

“We have sent home 85 staff, initiated contract tracing, arranged for deep cleaning, and are taking an abundance of caution per DOH and OSHA guidance in response to the situation,” said DLIR Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio in a news release. “This is yet another reminder that we’re still in the midst of the pandemic, and we have to ensure the safety of our public servants who continue to provide critical services.”

RELATED: Expiring Hawaii jobless claims are being extended in batches

The department said that the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division previously assessed the affected workplace and found that the Unemployment Insurance Division already had preventative measures and procedures in place to respond to the pandemic.

Individuals with inquiries regarding the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, employers, and those reporting fraud or identity theft may still call for assistance. More information about unemployment insurance and other labor issues pertaining to COVID-19 is available at this link.

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