LIHU‘E — Some sectors of Kaua‘i’s local economy could reopen on May 3 if current COVID-19 trends continue, according to county officials, but only if evidence of community spread doesn’t spring up between now and then.
Mayor Derek Kawakami said the county is working on reopening plans on Wednesday during his public address, asking people to keep following social distancing and stay-at-home orders, saying “we’re so close to seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Currently there is one active case of COVID-19 on Kaua‘i and that person is in isolation at the hospital. The other 20 individuals with confirmed cases have either recovered or returned home to the Mainland.
Kaua‘i district health officer Dr. Janet Berreman explained that May 3 date is important because it’s 21 days — or two incubation periods for the virus — from April 5, when the first, and only, case of community spread was confirmed on Kaua‘i.
Waiting that length of time to shift toward reopening is standard for public health officials, Berreman said.
“As a public health physician, if we have no more cases of community-acquired COVID-19 by May 3, I feel confident that in our current environment we can — cautiously — begin to loosen some of the tight restrictions that Kaua‘i has implemented,” Berreman said Wednesday.
Six new cases of the virus were confirmed on Wednesday statewide, bringing the new total to 591 positive cases with 12 virus-related deaths in Hawai‘i. More than 25,000 people have been tested statewide for the virus with 2.6% of those tested returning positive results, according to officials.
On Kaua‘i, officials said May 3 could potentially bring the reopening of construction and golf courses on the island, as well as the reopening of “many businesses that have been closed”.
Kawakami also cautioned on Wednesday that even if restrictions are loosened, “it doesn’t mean any of us will be going back to life as we knew it before March.”
“Our COVID-19 experience is far from over,” he said.