LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i officials said Monday there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Kaua‘i, but some on-island resorts say they’re starting to see cancellations, some people who work with the public are donning masks and there have been reports of busy lines at local stores.
At the Capitol, Governor David Ige is gearing up to discuss testing for the virus in a press conference set for today, and local government is actively engaged with promoting education and awareness, as well as working with several partners on response efforts.
Mayor Derek Kawakami said Monday that the Kaua‘i team has been a “key partner” in statewide video teleconference meetings and briefings on the subject, and said partners are working together to prepare for the possibility that COVID-19 will appear on Kaua‘i.
“Now is not the time to panic, but to get prepared,” said Kawakami. “Stay informed and learn how to protect yourself and our community from COVID-19.”
On Monday, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa’s director of marketing communications, Diann Hartman, said the few cancellations they’ve seen are mostly from international customers.
“A very small group in May has canceled and a group that was to meet this month will not be coming but may reschedule for the fall,” she said Monday. “The vast majority of both our leisure and meeting guests are from the US with less than 2% international.”
Meanwhile, Kapa‘a resident James “Kimo” Rosen said he’s seen a few people around Lihu‘e wearing facemasks and taking precautions — specifically he saw a cashier named Levi at Costco over the weekend, taking steps to protect against the virus.
“He has not recently traveled abroad, or to China but with all the visitors from around the world in and out of Costco on a daily basis along with a baby at home— Levi wants to be on the safe side and take all precautions necessary against a possible outbreak of the coronavirus,” Rosen said.
In Honolulu, event organizers for the 13th Festival of the Pacific Arts & Culture announced Monday that the event will be postponed due to global growing concerns about the virus. Hawai‘i was to host FESTPAC 2020 for eleven days in June 2020. FESTPAC organizers stressed the priority of health and safety for Hawai‘i residents and for all festival participants, and will continue to monitor developments surrounding COVID-19.
“FESTPAC planning will continue in order to ensure that Hawai‘i is prepared to be an outstanding host to our Pacific Island cousins and all who participate in this life-changing event,” said Senator J. Kalani English, FESTPAC Hawai‘i Chairman. “We want to thank all of our sponsors, supporters, and all those who have expressed interest in helping with FESTPAC Hawai‘i. Their assistance and ongoing support are critically important because even with this postponement, the festival will come sooner than we think.”
According to most recent Department of Health data, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i.
Centers for Disease Control says COVID-19 is a brand new virus that hasn’t been in the human population before. The respiratory illness brings with it fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. CDC is coordinating with state and local governments to get test kits out to areas where COVID-19 outbreaks are happening or likely.
Virus prevention techniques
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Stay home when you are sick
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw that tissue in the trash
• Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces with regular household cleaner
• CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from illnesses, including COVID-19. Keep in mind that supplies are limited.
• Prepare for the possibility that people may want to stay home or may be asked to stay home to prevent the spread of illness.
• If you have daily medication needs, have more than a week’s supply on hand and have as much on hand as your insurance will allow you to have.
• Not everyone can afford to stock up on supplies or has the space to store them, but anything you can arrange in advance means one less inconvenience or one less trip to the store while you are sick.
• Make family plans for the possibility of school or day care closures. Do some contingency planning in advance at the family level.
• Avoid handshakes, hugs and friendly kisses and use fist-bumps or elbow bumps for greeting
• Use only your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc.
• Use disposable gloves or a paper towel to touch gasoline dispensers, door handles
• Open doors with your closed fist or hip if possible
• Use disinfectant wipes at the store when possible
• Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances and in your car to kill germs when you can’t immediately wash your hands.