LIHU‘E — Seven additional cases of COVID-19 have been identified on Kaua‘i among the quarantined contacts of the man who was confirmed positive with the virus on June 18, and health officials are busy tracing contacts of those individuals.
Saturday, the state Department of Health announced the results of initial contact tracing, which identified the seven additional cases. All of the people who tested positive are household members with the previous case, and were already in quarantine when they were tested Friday.
Saturday, state DOH Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said her team is continuing their contact tracing of the household cluster this weekend and identification of additional contacts.
“We are working closely with the affected families to limit the spread of disease while also making sure that their health and well-being are protected,” Berreman said in a Saturday public address. “Fortunately, no one requires hospitalization at this time. In fact, today’s newly identified cases are currently either asymptomatic or only very mildly ill.”
She highlighted progress in testing, including the turn-around time for test results now being down to about one day and more than 50 trained contact tracers in the DOH office.
“Isolation and quarantine facilities are in place, our health-care providers are accustomed to managing COVID patients, and our hospitals have increased their ICU (intensive care unit) and ventilator capacity. As we move forward with more activities, and in particular with more travel, we will no doubt see more cases — so we will put our new skills and capacities to good use,” Berreman said.
Mayor Derek Kawakami echoed expectations of more virus cases on the island in a Saturday statement about the cluster: “We expected COVID-19 would return to our island, so this is not a surprise,” restating Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-advised countermeasures like hand washing and mask wearing.
”However, the large number of contacts identified by the investigation is concerning, and it reinforces our need to take measures to protect ourselves and those around us.”
The man who was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on June 18 was identified after he sought medical attention and was tested for the virus, according to the Kaua‘i District Health Office.
The test was processed expeditiously by the DOH, and confirmation came in late Thursday. The individual had not recently traveled, and health officials have not been able to identify the source of his infection. The investigation continues.
Berreman said Saturday that health officials arranged for isolation for that individual and quarantine and testing of his household members. Seven of those household members, three of them children, were confirmed positive in test results returned Friday night. Those seven have been isolated since Saturday. All these cases result from in-home transmission.
Jessica Else, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or email@example.com.