Officials: Keep avoiding big groups

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i health officials have tested more than 150 people that have had close contact to active cases of COVID-19 on the island, and officials are advising avoidance of large gatherings.

Officials aren’t moving to close down large gatherings on the island yet, though they say current clusters are “clearly associated” with social gatherings.

“Gathering with outside of our household poses a serious risk of exposure,” said Mayor Derek Kawakami in a Monday public address. “Yes, people are allowed to gather, but please recognize that there is a risk involved in such activities, and act responsibly.”

Concerns across the nation are elevated as the Independence Day holiday approaches and virus numbers have spiked in various states like Texas and California.

Kawakami mentioned the same concerns on Monday, reiterating the “threat of COVID-19 is ongoing” and advising residents to “act as (if) those around you have the virus”.

“If you must be around people outside of your immediate family, please wear a mask and keep a physical distance from others,” Kawakami said.

Officials reported zero new virus cases on Monday, and as of Monday afternoon the latest data shows Kaua‘i’s number of active cases is at 16 with the cumulative number of virus cases at 37.

All of the active cases are in isolation, and all other household members and identified close contacts of the active cases are in quarantine. The Department of Health is continuing its contact tracing investigation. Anyone who is identified as a close contact of a positive case will be notified directly by the Department of Health and offered a test.

Fifteen of those newest cases involved three households that had contact and spread the virus, and case clusters are on the south and east sides of the island according to DOH data, but officials aren’t confirming exactly where these individuals are isolated, nor exact locations of the families residences.

The active cases on the east side — in vicinity of the 96746 area code — were the most recently identified, according to the DOH’s map of active cases, which shows the region in which they are located.

Statewide, the COVID-19 case count reached 900 on Monday, with a two additional cases reported on O‘ahu.

DOH also addressed mask -wearing on Monday — specifically debunking a face mask exemption card that has been ciruclationg through social media. The card notes the holder is exempt from wearing a mask because it poses a mental or physical risk. It also states, that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the holder isn’t required to disclose what type of condition they have. According to the Hawai‘i COVID-19 Joint Information Center, which labeled the card as “fake”, none of those claims are valid.

View the DOH COVID-19 Map at health.hawaii.gov/coronavirusdisease2019/what-you-should-know/current-situation-in-hawaii/

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