Mayor proposes tier system

LIHU‘E — Mayor Derek Kawakami has proposed a four-tiered system outlining when businesses and activities can be operational based on coronavirus case counts, including a point at which Kaua‘i would opt out of the state’s pre-travel test program that begins next week.

The mayor’s emergency rule 19 proposal was sent to Gov. David Ige Thursday. The governor can approve or deny the order.

“In light of Kaua‘i’s post-arrival testing program being denied by the governor earlier this week, we have continued to work with our health officials and other partners to take a phased, responsible approach to reopening our economy while keeping our island safe,” Kawakami said.

Rule 18, which would have required both inter-island and trans-Pacific travelers to take a second COVID-19 test upon arrival on Kaua‘i, was denied on Monday.

The tier system begins with Tier 4 being the most lax and Tier 1 as the most restrictive. Social distancing and masks are required at all stages.

Tier 4 is designated by less than two daily active cases, where the county currently stands. Allowed on this level are nearly all businesses and activities with minimal restrictions. On this tier, the 72-hour, pre-travel test program is in effect for all visitors.

Tier 3 would be in effect when an average of two to four daily COVID-19 cases happens, the press release states. Trans-Pacific travelers can still test out of the quarantine, but restrictions on gatherings would go into effect.

At Tier 2, the county will opt out of the pre-travel testing program, and the two-week quarantine will be required for all travelers. This will be triggered when the county reaches an average of five to eight cases a day in a week.

The most restrictive step, Tier 1, would go into effect when there’s a one-week average of eight or more cases per day registered on the island. “No pre-testing quarantine exemptions will be allowed,” the press release states.

“More information on mayor’s proposed emergency rule 19, including detailed metrics for the proposed tier system, will be publicized upon approval,” a county spokesperson said Thursday evening.

The tier system is similar to one in place on O‘ahu already.

Kawakami acknowledged community concerns as the state moves toward a Thursday, Oct. 15 reopening, allowing trans-Pacific travelers to bypass a two-week quarantine period with proof of a negative Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) COVID-19 test from a state-partnered authority.

“Many have requested my response to the governor’s offer for counties to ‘opt out’ of the state’s pre-travel testing program,” Kawakami said.

“It has never been our intention to opt out of the state’s program, but rather to supplement the program in a way that meets our county’s unique needs. We maintain that a pre- and post-arrival testing program is the safest option for our residents and visitors, and we will continue to work with the state to achieve that goal.”

On Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said the state would be implementing a random surveillance testing program that would select 10% of daily travelers to voluntarily take a post-travel test.

“By opting in to the state’s pre-travel test plan, the county is also opting in to Lt. Gov. Josh Green’s recently-announced surveillance program, which will offer an additional layer of testing here on island,” Kawakami said.

In preparation for its own post-travel test program that was denied, the county purchased 15,000 rapid, same-day COVID-19 tests using $1 million of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds for the tests.

The county currently has zero active cases.

“Kaua‘i continues to work with our private-industry partners to help promote a voluntary, post-arrival testing program here on Kaua‘i,” Kawakami said. “We will announce more on that campaign in the coming days.”

2 new coronavirus-related deaths, 101 new infections

State Department of Health officials said Thursday that the state has recorded two additional coronavirus-related deaths and 101 new infections statewide, bringing the totals since the start of the pandemic to 165 deaths and 13,146 cases.

Thursday’s new infection cases include 86 on O‘ahu, 14 on Hawai‘i Island and one on Maui.

The U.S. coronavirus death toll was over 212,000 Thursday.

  1. I saw a Vampire once October 9, 2020 1:11 am Reply

    Nice article Sabrina. Everyone is happy zero active cases. I am sure they got this under control on Kaua’i.

  2. nobody October 9, 2020 5:50 am Reply

    I think Tier 3 should trigger the 9 pm curfew. This may be the one thing Kauai did differently and why we have had success.

    Once the Covid is here it will spread as Kauai residents don’t behave, especially the young and healthy. Who should we lock down for their own good? The compromised or the healthy?

  3. rk669 October 9, 2020 6:21 am Reply

    Definitely has Hair on Fire! Someone Please Extinguish it Now!
    Someone needs to get a Grip!

  4. Peter October 9, 2020 7:25 am Reply

    Show me a science based prediction model forecasting how many transpacific travelers are likely to arrive undetected with a Covid positive status after receiving a negative test within 72 hours of travel.

    While you are it, please show me more science based research that show how those numbers translate into community spread, predicted hospitalization numbers and ICU bed capacity. Good science based modeling will consider improved medical treatment for Covid and the larger number of available testing.

    Supporting or opposing yet another rule change without science based evidence is irrational and steeped in individual’s emotionally driven agendas.

  5. kauai local October 9, 2020 8:23 am Reply

    We are not medically prepared for what is about to comee here.

    brace yourselves, its coming and we have been watching this nightmare for 7months twiddling our fingers

  6. Patrick Flores October 9, 2020 10:07 am Reply

    Maybe our county government would consider testing arrivals for a fee for a quick results test? My wife and I just this week completed 14 days of quarentine, we would have gladly paid to quickly verify good health. Please consider this idea,

  7. Old Fart Haole October 9, 2020 11:16 am Reply

    This is unworkable. Presumably, that is on purpose as a jab at Ige. Otherwise, this is just sad.

    Leave the island closed if you are afraid of – or just don’t want – visitors. Returning residents and the few long-term visitors can keep putting up with two week quarantine each time they return to the island. So what if the economy just gets worse? If the mayor thought that the residents (who vote) prefer to open back up, that’s what he’d do. But, a majority apparently do not want that.

  8. William Norton October 9, 2020 11:25 am Reply

    Great, have mainland travelers get vacation time off work, hire baby sitters, buy airline tickets and a rental car and accommodations then tell them the day before they depart (or even sooner) “whoops, Kauai just went to Stage 2 from Stage 3 and you had spent all that money at Stage 4! So sorry Hale!” Then for good measure have them take a way overly sensitive 45 cycle PCR test as a “supplement” after they arrive here that finds decayed rna Covid strands from months ago, pronounces them positive and locks them up for 14 days in some hotel room (likely at their expense). Sounds like a great way to promote tourism! You geniuses better have a “guaranteed income” for the next several years ‘cuz you’re going to need it.

    1. Billy Boy October 10, 2020 1:04 pm Reply

      At least spell your slurs right.

      But you seem to think that tourism dollars are more important than the health of the residents. Genius, indeed.

  9. Hieronymus October 9, 2020 12:49 pm Reply

    The continued shuttering of our economy is destroying people. Rents and mortgages are due. Government cannot continue to provide services without tax revenue. The most vocal people who want to keep the economy closed are those who are insulated from it. The few rich and the government employee/ civil servants. They get paid no matter what. What about the hotel workers? How about business owners who employ people? Costco and Home Depot and Walmart are fine but what about the many restaurants, bicycle stores, mom and pop shops? We are constantly being told to wear masks, wash our hands and social distance. So we do. Now if we get some cases the mayor wants to shut us down. 14 days to flatten the curve turned into no work for you!
    Open up. if someone does not want to work then that person can stay home. Give PPE to those who need it and let the rest of us get to it. My mask protects you and your mask protects me and my job feeds my family so I do not need your charity.

    1. Mayan Hawaiian October 10, 2020 8:23 am Reply

      Amen to that!

  10. Concerned citizen October 9, 2020 7:49 pm Reply

    Negative ghost rider. The turd system is too unpredictable to be able to successfully staff and plan accordingly to run a business. Either open or close. I say open. Protect vulnerable. And live your life. Almost 7 months of fear porn for what we know now is a way less deadly Virus than predicted. Don’t make decisions based out of fear, do it from information and education from multiple sources. Go beyond cnn or Fox News. How will you decide to live the next 7 months. It’s up to you.

  11. Jim October 10, 2020 7:06 am Reply

    I certainly understand that Kauai wants to keep its residents and guests safe. But the reality is your mayor is going to create a situation that has real consequences for Kauai. I recently booked an 8 day stay at a property on Kauai. Bringing my family group of 10. Already paying $10,000 for the accommodations and expect that by the time the trip is done after dining, deep sea fishing, golf, and other activities that we’ll be leaving at least $20,000 on the island. Maybe that’s not enough for anyone to care about but If the mayor doesn’t at least get in line with the rest of the state, I’m cancelling and taking my money elsewhere. It’s a shame because we were all really excited to visit your beautiful island. We live under this absurd “4 tier” system in CA and it’s a joke. They change criteria nonstop and tell counties they can move to the next tier and then pull the rug out last minute. Your visitors need some reasonable idea of what to expect upon arrival. It’s your island but it’s my money and unless you rein in your local government I’ll be spending it elsewhere.

  12. I saw a Vampire once October 10, 2020 2:17 pm Reply

    So what if I go to work at Jack in the Box. My portion is set. What now? I’ll became a county council to make stipend pay, that will do it. It is going to make our name popular. I have no experience. It is okay. My name will be popular on the news.

    Consensus. Election 2020

  13. Jay Williamson October 10, 2020 2:19 pm Reply

    If the proposed 4 Tier system is designed to kill tourism on Kauai for the rest of 2020, it’s already working. Visitors are reluctant to plan their Kauai vacations because of the uncertainty of which Tier would be in effect during their visit to Kauai. Visitors have learned that refunds are either difficult or impossible for flights, hotels, and activities. There is a growing consensus that 2021 will have the same Covid problem or possibly worse due to mutations which have undeveloped vaccines.

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