Letters for Sunday, September 27, 2020

Quarantine waiver could cause cases to skyrocket

Who else sees the flaw of the Oct. 15 implementation of waiving quarantine for travelers coming to Hawai‘i with a 72-hour prior negative COVID-19 test?

If a tested passenger sits near an untested, contagious traveler, they could pass on the virus unknowingly and infect the island. The odds, with thousands of travelers a day, make it a certainty in a matter of time. Then there’s a safer solution: Test incoming travelers a second time five to six days after their arrival and have them quarantine until negative. But that decent idea hits a snag when Kaua‘i and other islands don’t have the capacity to test that kind of incoming volume a second time on arrival.

I believe the 72-hour, pre-travel test to avoid quarantine is done primarily to recover tourism dollars, with holes in the safety net that are being overlooked due to financial pressure at the expense of citizen health.

The concept of visitor vacation bubbles on their resorts is also, sadly, a joke. Sooner or later, a visitor at a resort will pass the virus to a resort worker who spreads it to family and community before they are even aware of it.

Our cases would skyrocket. It’s not special powers to see that happening. The pono path is to patch those loopholes before allowing a faulty safety-net plan to proceed and keep the 14-day quarantine until the safety net is solid.

God bless us all, including blessing the governor and mayor to take the safe route for our citizens.

Jenn Tyler, Kapa‘a

Doctor calls on mayor for better reopening plan

Mr. Kawakami;

I’ve been impressed by your leadership and vocal strength as our leader here on Kaua‘i.

I am a physician on the North Shore, have been for 18 years. I also work as an ER doctor on Moloka‘i, a job I’ve held for as long.

I was made aware of Mr. Ige’s plan to open the state to tourism with a single test within 72 hours by a patient, who expressed great anxiety. This became a theme in my clinical day yesterday.

Later, I heard schools are opening on the same day.

I’d like to express my concern for Ige’s policy, as it falls short. I also would like to offer my services as a liaison. I believe I could gather 50 to 100 signatures of doctors opining this testing policy falls short.

I would like to recommend at least a 48-hour quarantine with repeat testing on day two of tourists’ arrival. Turnaround time is 24 to 36 hours. I could even form a team to test these visitors in their homes, and could coordinate with lab to streamline testing-turnaround time.

Please let me know if I may be of service. I am concerned for the welfare of the community, and with governor’s plan as is, can almost confirm a sharp spike in Kaua‘i’s cases. It is the health and safety of this community I love that is my only concern and sole item of agenda.

Steve Rogoff, MD, Kilauea

14 Comments
  1. LTEreader September 27, 2020 12:49 am Reply

    Dr. Rogoff,
    I wholeheartedly agree, but requests need to be approved by Gov. Ige. Dr. Green, who as I’m sure you know is in charge of the new COVID team, was on the Mel & Charlie show (link below) and said he has no problem if a Mayor wants additional testing. However, I saw Gov. Ige on the news a few days ago who said no further testing will be done. Per Dr. Green the State of HI. can only accommodate 4,000 tests per day. Akin to putting out a fire with a thimble of water if this escalates as you, I, and so many others are concerned it might.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4JxvzEnzmM&t=3129s
    LG Josh Green

    And not sure if you saw this one? Very informative video with Dr. Darragh O’Carroll regarding the 72 hour test program.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro89yZ89Q0c&t=368s


  2. Michael Gennet September 27, 2020 7:41 am Reply

    I have been subscribing to these daily bulletins, as my wife and I have had reservations for our Hanalei Bay Resort timeshare for over a year. We plan to fly non-stop from LAX to Lihue on October 18, shortly after the quarantine restrictions expire. We will have verification of our Negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the flight.

    In response to Jenn Tyler’s very thoughtful op-ed piece, I offer that we will wear masks the entire time we are on the plane and in the Lihue Airport, offering us some protection to anyone else on the plane who might be carrying the virus. We plan to take our chances and then enjoy the North Shore without any restrictions. Just an opinion from a Mainlander who misses the beauty and hospitality of Kauai.


  3. Everythingisawesome September 27, 2020 8:50 am Reply

    “If a tested passenger sits near an untested, contagious traveler, they could pass on the virus unknowingly and infect the island.”

    Jenn,
    How could the virus possibly be transmitted if everyone on the plane is wearing masks?


    1. Pete Antonson September 28, 2020 1:55 pm Reply

      By touching the same surfaces


  4. Kauaidoug September 27, 2020 9:35 am Reply

    I agree with the doctor. It seems to me until we can have someone spit into a device AT Lihue airport and have the result in minutes will we be safe. We are not talking about a few people coming, but thousands, so the numbers game indicates Covid19 carrying tourists are bound to slip through under this proposed plan. Not good enough!


  5. curious dog September 27, 2020 10:56 am Reply

    Dear Mayor:

    Please take Dr. Rogoff’s advice & his generous offer of assistance seriously. We’re a small island w/a finite & limited number of hospital beds. This island cannot afford to make a mistake.


  6. truth be known September 27, 2020 1:37 pm Reply

    Bravo Dr. Rogoff! Your comments are spot on. The single test 72 hours before the flight doesn’t account for disease transmission at the airports or from fellow travelers who elect the 14 day quarantine. It is absolute stupidity to overlook those avenues of infection. Hopefully your suggestion will be implemented.


  7. LTEreader September 27, 2020 3:44 pm Reply

    RE: Michael Gennet

    “we will wear masks the entire time we are on the plane and in the Lihue Airport offering us some protection to anyone else on the plane who might be carrying the virus. We plan to take our chances and then enjoy the North Shore without any restrictions.”

    Without any restrictions?
    You’ll also be wearing masks to enter any business including stores, restaurants, outdoor farmers markets, and anywhere else in public that you’ll be in close proximity to others. The only exceptions is when you’re exercising, entering a bank or other financial institution, at the ATM machine, and when you’re in your own personal vehicle with members of your immediate household only. Anyone caught not wearing a mask in public [except for approved activities] is guilty of a misdemeanor and face fines up to $5,000 and up to a year imprisonment. We’ve been wearing them since April 14th, and expect the same from visitors.


  8. judi glass September 27, 2020 3:56 pm Reply

    Mahalo for all of these well thought suggestions and I agree with needing more before we open our island to visitors. Picking a random date goes against the facts… cases are not under control and a one time test is not safe. Once we open the island without careful scientific procedures ( ie at least 2 tests ) we will have no recourse. it will be too late and we cannot ignore what we know to be true as much as we do not want to believe it. The medical experts are just that … experts; and let’s listen to them.


  9. Steve O'Neal September 27, 2020 4:30 pm Reply

    Dr. Rogoff, It is heartening to see so many people independently coming to the same conclusions. Please see this google slide slide presentation – we welcome any feedback (stephenoneal @ gmail.com). http://www.tinyurl/kipuka1


  10. Dt September 27, 2020 4:57 pm Reply

    Kind of odd that they would pick Oct 15th… right around when the mail in ballots are due. So for anyone struggling financially who depends on tourism or public schools for child care would see things in a positive mood. Oct 15th is just late enough that massive infection would not be recognized by November elections… so odd….


  11. Lizzy September 27, 2020 10:45 pm Reply

    It is not a matter of IF
    but WHEN

    Just takes ONE
    people…


  12. CuriousChristina September 28, 2020 3:37 am Reply

    Thought? Possible solution?
    Maybe the air flight companies should have planes for those who HAVE gotten the test prior to traveling here and other planes for those who are choosing to quarantine for two weeks on island? Also I agree with someone above ,ALL airports Should have a quick spit, swab or something that can recognize this “Virus” in seconds, I am sure there is this type of technology out there,right?


  13. Elizabeth Scheibe September 28, 2020 7:36 am Reply

    it just takes 1
    Only 1 person.

    So its not a matter of IF
    But WHEN


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