Interisland travel infection confirmed

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 Walgreens

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.

13 Comments
  1. Kawahine October 18, 2020 5:17 am Reply

    There you have it, resident not visitor. Unless you consider an auntie, friend, child, etc from another island a visitor. And it’s not clear as to whether or not this arrival was before pre arrival testing was an option on Oct 15, or did this person arrive without testing and was in 14 day quarantine. Time for us residents to take some responsibility and quit pointing fingers at our livelihood.

    Love the idea of diversity for generating income for locals, but face it, Hawaii is geographically undesirable for very little other then tourism. If you think this won’t effect your income because your in construction, landscaping, insurance sales, etc, think again. Not today, but a year or two down the road.


    1. northside October 18, 2020 1:36 pm Reply

      Rumer is it was a Kauai resident returning almost 2 weeks ago.


  2. nobody October 18, 2020 5:47 am Reply

    Can we somehow spin it to blame tourism? Will there be a protest?


  3. randy kansas October 18, 2020 6:54 am Reply

    we have had months, to expand our hospital bed and ventilator count, health care system….which is way cheaper than the loss of jobs, mental health, tax revenue and basically our entire Kauai economy;

    why are we focused on keeping things shut down, but no mention of beefing up our medical capacity to handle a few more cases….hmmm…


    1. nobody October 18, 2020 1:37 pm Reply

      Maybe because they no we won’t need to beef up the hospitals?


    2. Kawahine October 18, 2020 2:30 pm Reply

      Right!?!


  4. John Patt October 18, 2020 7:51 am Reply

    The single test system is about as effective as half a raincoat.


    1. Mailman Mike October 18, 2020 1:45 pm Reply

      That is what I have thinking all along. Maybe not in those words. ha ha


  5. rk669 October 18, 2020 9:52 am Reply

    Oh My! It’s another Emergency,SHUT the Islands DOWN NOW!
    Our Hair is already on Fire!


  6. Susan October 18, 2020 10:16 am Reply

    Everyone – next election day, PLEASE remember to thank Mayor Derek Kawakami for this and the hundreds of other new Covid cases that will be arriving in Kauai shortly.


    1. nobody October 18, 2020 1:39 pm Reply

      I don’t think it’s really up to Derek. Should we also ask him to stop the wars in the mideast?


    2. Hoku October 18, 2020 6:44 pm Reply

      I’m gonna remember he kept Kauai under draconian rule for far too long, used covid as an excuse to close polihale, and restrict movement which is up illegal under our constitutional rights. Those reasons will be a recent memory when it’s time to vote. However if he mans up and handles a few cases that are to be expected without closing our businesses down again. Then he will have the benefit of doing the right thing on his side.


  7. WAVE October 18, 2020 3:32 pm Reply

    FEAR HAS BECOME BORING

    BYE BYE LOGIC FREE MAYOR AND ALL THE OTHER FREELOADING CLOWNS IN GOVERNMENT

    WERE FULLY OPEN AND TOURISTS ARE HERE AND HAPPY
    AND GUESSWHAT ?……..TOURISTS ARE NOT THE ONES THROWING OLD CARS AND APPLIANCES INTO THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRYSIDE !!!


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