LIHU‘E — Limiting movement is key to keeping community spread of the novel coronavirus at bay.
Yesterday marked the first day of a state-mandated 14-day quarantine for new arrivals to the island, resident or tourist, through the end of May. And, earlier this week, a work-from-home order was set in place throughout Kaua‘i along with the nightly curfew through the end of April.
With that, the Kaua‘i Police Department has set up checkpoints around the island to ensure residents and tourists are adhering to rules set in place by Mayor Derek Kawakami and Gov. David Ige.
As of Thursday morning, there had been no citations or arrests for violations made to rules implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a KPD spokesperson. But a continued watch that rules are being followed is important, said officials.
“Unfortunately, some bad apples will always ruin the bunch, and enforcement is necessary,” Kawakami said during his Thursday COVID-19 update.
During this update, KPD Chief Todd Raybuck noted that the island’s small health-care system would not be able to handle a quick, mass spread of the virus.
As of Thursday, there were three cases on the island — one resident and two visitors, all remaining in isolation. In total, there have been five confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Kaua‘i. Kawakami said Thursday the two original positive cases, who were visitors, have fully recovered and left the island to return home to the mainland.
“We are a small community that could be impacted by this pandemic in a huge way,” Raybuck said.
Those caught violating the rules could face misdemeanor charges and fines of up to $5,000 and/or up to a year in jail.
“KPD does not wish to add to this crisis situation by writing citations or taking people to jail,” Raybuck continued.
Checkpoints are ensuring that those out and about are following rules. People are asked to stay home as much as possible, limiting travel to necessary reasons like picking up groceries, attending doctor appointments or traveling to care for the elderly, disabled or minors. Traveling to part take in outdoor activities like biking, surfing or swimming is allowed while practicing social distancing.
In part, the KPD is also screening incoming calls to determine the level and type of response. Screenings could determine if the proper response is speaking to an officer over the phone, being directed to file a report online or being asked to meet outside the home to ensure proper social distancing.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.