LIHU‘E — Twenty-two days without a single new reported case, and Saturday, the county reported one new confirmed infection and one probable case, pending laboratory results.
This comes two days after the state reopened to trans-Pacific and interisland travelers through its Safe Travels pre-travel program that allows flyers to bypass the mandatory two-week quarantine by providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test through a state-approved partner.
The confirmed diagnosis on Kaua‘i is related to interisland travel, and the result pending is a household contact, the Kaua‘i District Health Office announced Saturday morning. This brings the county’s cumulative case count to 60. The last new case was reported Sept. 25 and was deemed recovered on Oct. 5.
Both cases are in isolation in a facility, and contact tracing is ongoing. According to the Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency, six identified contacts are under quarantine.
“While pre- and post-travel testing can provide an additional layer of protection, a quarantine is always the safest option,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said in the announcement. “Travelers now have the option to test out of quarantine, but it is still advised that you keep your distance from others as much as possible for 14 days after travel.”
Kaua‘i County remains on Tier 4 of its four-tiered restriction system. This tier is marked by a less than 1% positivity rate and allows a 72-hour, pre-travel test program. The county would move to Tier 3, implementing stricter indoor and outdoor gathering restrictions, should the island report a one-week average of two to four cases.
The state’s Department of Health reported one COVID-19 related death on O‘ahu and 96 new cases Saturday, including the new case on Kaua‘i. The remaining cases count 12 on Hawai‘i Island, 82 on O‘ahu, and two residents out-of-state.
The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority reported 7,853 new arrivals into the state Friday. Of this, 739 flew into Lihu‘e Airport, the majority, 523, stating their travel for “pleasure/vacation” and 60 here to visit friends or relatives. This also includes 10 who are either on honeymoon or to get married. Returning residents made up 46 of these seats and intended residents 18.
As of Friday, the Kaua‘i Police Department recorded about 1,700 people on travel-related quarantine.
A post-travel test option is being offered free to returning Kaua‘i residents who travel out of state and receive a quarantine exemption via the state’s Safe Travels pre-testing program, the county said.
For free testing, residents must provide proof of an out-of-state boarding pass or trip confirmation along with a Hawai‘i state identification card at least 72 hours after their arrival. Free post-travel testing for residents will begin Monday at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall, available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
Post-arrival testing is not available for interisland travelers at this time.
Visitors must pay for the test but will be rewarded with a $150 gift card from either a restaurant or traveler destination.
As of Saturday afternoon, prices for the tests were still being worked on, with one representative from Kaua‘i American Medical Response testing stating the price would be between $130 and $150.
The county’s mandatory post-arrival test program was denied by the state, so it developed this incentive program.
In a press release Friday, the county acknowledged that a “pre-test may happen too early in the course of infection to test positive, and a traveler may be exposed after the test or during their transit to the state.”
Participants will receive same-day results.
“Our residents pose a greater risk of introducing COVID-19 into our community because of the ways we interact with our families, household members, co-workers, friends, and neighbors,” Kawakami said. “Please do your part in protecting our kupuna and other residents at high risk of severe disease by staying home and away from others as long as you can after your return, and then coming in to get a free COVID-19 test 4-10 days after your return.”
8 trusted testing partners
Gov. David Ige announced Saturday eight trusted testing partners for inter-county travel. Inter-county passengers arriving in Kaua‘i and Maui counties may bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine if they take an FDA-authorized Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from the certified CLIA lab of a trusted testing and travel partner no earlier than 72 hours prior to departure and receive a negative result.
The eight trusted testing partners for inter-county travel are:
w Clinical Laboratories of Hawai‘i
w CVS Health (Longs)
w Hawai‘i Pacific Health
w Kaiser Permanente (for members only)
w Minit Medical
w Urgent Care Hawaii
w Vault Health
As trusted testing and travel partners added to the Safe Travels Hawaii program, they will be uploaded to www.hawaiicovid19.com.
This story was updated Sunday, Oct. 18 at 6:40 a.m. to provide clarity on when the new COVID-19 case was confirmed.