Kawakami asks state to change Safe Travels

LIHU‘E — Mayor Derek Kawakami is requesting the state modify its Safe Travels program to require travelers have their pre-travel test results prior to travel.

As it currently stands, the Safe Travels program allows incoming travelers to bypass a state-mandated, two-week quarantine by producing a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival in Hawai‘i. One of the issues the state has found is travelers receiving positive tests after touchdown.

As of Friday, the county has reported eight cases of travelers receiving positive results after arrival. All of these were trans-Pacific related.

“We acknowledge that there are too many gaps in the current Safe Travel program and improvements must be made,” Kawakami said Friday.

On Friday, the county reported two new cases, to bring the active total to 17. Two of these cases are hospitalized.

The county remains on Tier 4, with concerns of breaking a one-week daily average of two, which will take it to a more-restrictive Tier 3 into a holiday season.

The state reported 110 new COVID-19 infections Friday, including 92 on O‘ahu, eight on Hawai‘i Island, the two on Kaua‘i, one on Maui, and seven state residents diagnosed elsewhere.

As active COVID-19 cases reach a county high, health officials are warning of community spread once again.

“It is clear that after many months with very little disease, COVID-19 is now rapidly increasing in our community,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office officer Friday. “Since traveler restrictions were loosened, we have seen a dramatic rise in cases.”

Berreman reiterated that gathering in small groups outdoors with masks, as well as traveling with caution, can be performed, but must be done with care, like staying home when ill and avoiding close contacts in the two weeks after travel.

“If we all resolve to take action, we can keep our community safer,” she said.

The DOH released its weekly mask statistics, and Kaua‘i’s usage has fallen behind other counties.

For the week of Nov. 7, Kaua‘i’s mask-wearing came in at 76%, while all other counties had use above 80%.

“That means one person out of four in public places was not wearing a mask,” Berreman said. “Perhaps we were, understandably, less careful because our infection numbers were so low. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. With our numbers climbing, we can and must do better.”


Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Dr Jim November 13, 2020 5:36 pm Reply

    As we look around the rest of the country and see that states on the West Coast, as well as New York and other places, are collectively restricting travel, and recommending that people stay at home other than for essential services, we should ask ourselves whether those same people should be allowed to travel to Hawaii with less restriction than they experience at home. There is a reason that California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada are locking down. That is that their residents pose a risk to other residents of that state. Their governors understand that and recognize that.

    The difference is, that when they get sick at home, they can either go into a hospital system which allows them to be transferred by individual ground transportation to other hospitals if necessary. If one hospital is full, they can drive or take an ambulance to the next one. Once someone shows up sick in Kauai, they are not allowed to leave. If they end up in the hospital, they take 1 of our few available hospital beds. If they end up on a ventilator, they take 1 of our few available ICU beds. There is no transferring them to another hospital system. They become Kauai’s problem for the duration of their illness. We do not possess the resources to accommodate people coming to this island and tying up our limited hospital space. When our hospitals are full, there is not going to be an alternative for people from this island that gets sick. While finances may not be the most important factor in providing medical care, if these people are unable to pay the bill, once they are hospitalized, they will still be provided full care. This will have a long-term negative impact the medical system in Hawaii.

    It is time for both the state and county leadership to acknowledge that this experiment has failed, the same way that it has in other island communities that were relatively free of disease, and stop allowing people to come to Kauai without a mandated quarantine.

    Since it seems unlikely that the governor is going to make the appropriate choice, we are relying on the mayor to do that.

    1. JC November 14, 2020 7:38 am Reply

      I just want to comment on the mayor’s advice to have passengers receive a negative reading prior to arrival. I do think that’s a very good idea. What people should know, and I just learned after a loved one getting it, is that if you’ve had Covid, there is a 10 day window of being contagious. From the first day of symptoms and for 10 days after, you will shed a live virus. https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/how-long-after-coronavirus-are-you-contagious
      But with that being said, you can still test positive a few weeks to a few months even though the virus is no longer alive but rather dead. The testing has not become sophisticated enough to know the difference. So each positive reading does not equal a contagious person. So in that case, with a doctors verification of the timeline and the patients beginning and end of symptoms, it can be validated that the person is no longer contagious.
      I have now personally known 6 people with the virus, 4 of whom were over 65. All had flu like symptoms and all recovered very well. No one wants this virus, but is all the fear and paranoia even more unhealthy? It’s far from being a death sentence that’s for sure! My best advice to make sure your Vitamin D levels are high and take Zinc daily!
      Also, I would not say that this experiment has failed by any means. but I do think that getting a negative read prior to arrival would be prudent.
      And might I add one more thing, I flew in almost a month ago and the process of testing has a very high bar. Only reputable labs are accepted….period. When you come off the plane, Lihue airport is so organized with numerous tables set up. You must have your ID, your results, and an extensive questionnaire form to present to the agent. A National Guard then looks at it, referring to the list of approved testing sights, and then you are given a ticket to go out to baggage claim. It’s so well done under the circumstances and I applaud the leadership of the operation at the airport!

    2. Paulo November 14, 2020 9:20 am Reply

      Dr Jim, I wholeheartedly agree with your comments. Our island has gone from no new cases for weeks on end to these multiple cases sometimes in one day and it’s been in short order. We cannot continue with this increasing number of cases. You raised a good point that not only are we exposed to travelers coming in from places with very high COVID rates, they may need to go into our hospital which may end up refusing elective surgery again and if the visitor cannot afford their hospital stay we are on the hook for that. It’s not working.

  2. Deborah Nantais November 13, 2020 11:19 pm Reply

    Finally we hear a call from our Mayor to “protect” our precious resources,especially the lack of critical care beds on the entire Island .Finally we should understand the severity of the choices made beyond our control by allowing tourists(and locals) to come before they have been given a negative result!Our roads, shopping centers,Costco,etc are now swarming with tourists who expect they can do what they want, disregarding our fragile infrastructure..!

    If our only major hospital fills quickly with covid cases…it will push out others who are currently experiencing other traumas like heart attacks & other serious injuries!We cannot
    “afford” to be shut down again because the virus got beyond our ability to control which is
    heading into that territory as we speak!Yes we all want family for the holidays but is it worth the “risk” which could quickly devastate not only the Kupuna but the young ones as well when interacting with those outside of the immediate family circle.

    Remember the signs that say” Kauai Strong” when sadness over not having what we want this year tugs at us and maybe makes us feel like we are really safe here after all.Truth is the numbers are rising quickly, too quickly and we are not safe from the virus, even on Kauai.

    We have to be strong Kauai & smart & stay far apart from anyone you that you do not know!!
    Finally we already know that masks have become the new fashion accessory-so keep em on!
    Lets work together, back our Mayor,give thanks for what we do have here&try to stay home
    as much as you can!

    Aloha from Puhi!

  3. USAF Brat November 14, 2020 5:30 am Reply

    Mayor and P.A.went fishing for puka shells. These pilauticians are predictable, have us in “cut bait” fashion since reopening this island that HAD zero china flu virus cases! Obviously money and community health are polar opposites until one of their own is tagged. Watch em how this kind of event is guaranteed to do just that. These supposed leaders never went to medical school and thus, i would have been the best bet as your mayor, because i did. My medical career and comrads of 50-years experiences at or via ER, EMS, and MICT status out of Wilcox Hospital had poke squid to these same undereducated circus clown dems, who have been actively causing mayhAm, confusion and the USAF, as well as F-22 Raptors continue making daily Lihue Airport “touch n Go” presence known as they all try to keep us “controlled” and community humanity unable to turn the tide because “they” say they know better than we do! Corporates and nonprofit corporates CEO, directors et al, and a lot of luciferians are playing in our sand box, “killing us softly” with their covid armament!

  4. diane tilley November 14, 2020 6:14 am Reply

    The first cruise line to restart in the Caribbean has been halted after a few days. All the passengers had passed their required tests proving they were negative for Covid. However, after a few days several of the passengers became ill with Covid and the ship was forced to stop in Barbados. I would assume that that Island is now required to treat them. Too dangerous to be relaxing the restrictions for Hawaii, especially Kauai.

  5. TMANNING November 14, 2020 6:30 am Reply

    The lead time for pretesting would need to be increased past the 72 hour period. It seems as this is the problem for not getting test results ontime. Visitors are finding themselves not receiving their results prior to their flight times.

  6. MarilynHawaii November 14, 2020 7:15 am Reply

    Jim, I couldn’t have said it better. Mr. Mayor, you are our only line of defense.

  7. Kama'aina November 14, 2020 7:52 am Reply

    The only thing worth counting is the death rate for covid. It proves that dyeing from covid is very difficult with over 99% of those who have test positive surviving, and most without strong symptoms. Showing that the extreme at risk individuals show shelter in place, wear mask when need to be out, and focus on their immune systems while the 99% should go about life with minimal regulation and focus on their immune systems.
    We should be living life to help everyone build immunity to this virus just like all the other billions of virus’ around us. No fear.
    Live in hope for a blessed future. If we lock down it will only take that much longer to get to the same outcome.
    We need to think and act for our keiki. Get back to life.

    1. WOH November 14, 2020 3:21 pm Reply

      Very well put. The virus will do what it will do. Technocratic “solutions” will just prolong the human suffering.

      1. Doug November 14, 2020 10:19 pm Reply

        This isn’t true. Those who don’t die are suffering many ailments months after being infected. People are unable to live their lives. Many can’t even walk 30 feet.

        People really need to educate themselves about what’s happening with this infection. The lives permanently debilitated are going to be a long term problem for the state and the country.

    2. Paradise Lost November 15, 2020 12:22 am Reply

      Brah, most people who survive have permanent lung damage and many also have permanent brain damage. 1% of our island population is 700 people, but a lot more would die if we had a major outbreak because no more icu beds and ventilators.

      Vaccine coming soon, then you can get back to life without needing to suggest we forget our aloha and just let them die so you don’t have to be inconvenienced by wearing a mask at the store.

  8. Pastor Jim November 14, 2020 8:03 am Reply

    Dr. Jim,

    Your complaint that people sick and hospitalized would not be able,to pay their doctor / medical bill, badly impacting medical care into the future, really? Perhaps that’s part of the solution to the pandemic problem today.

    How about the 40% of the people of the island out of work and not able to pay for groceries, amd having to wait in food lines…reminds of the Great Depression…! ! ! One story recently was that the food supply ran out for one of the programs. Cause: Just too many
    people in line, does that mean the people themselves were the fault, they should have just stayed home hungry?

    And one picture of “food for 5 days” did not look like the food could pass the Nutrition Test.

    But for your profession, Dr. Jim, if you are a medical professional, shouldn’t you and your colleagues accept some responsibility for the numbers of people, 80%, who you have collectively placed on prescription drugs instead of guiding and educating them back to wellness and health, which is the job of every physician. After all, the word physician means teacher. 80% of the people on prescription drugs and those drugs aee keeping them internally still sick, but only showing false improved test numbers. For example, prescription drugs have your high blood pressure numbers down, but you still have high blood pressure disease destroying your body’s organ from lack of necessary blood flow and this as a result diminished oxygen to those body organs.
    You know that all prescription drugs have 2 side effects, the first producing false information of peoples’ bodily functions untruthfully saying they are better off because their ongoing disease is being “managed” by prescription drugs, while the 2nd side effect is attacking another body part or organ or function of their body, the side effect taking longer for the evidence of additional diseases to surface while the patient’s health deteriorates further, and their actual,primary disease accelerates further.

    And every patient on prescription drugs is very much a sick person even if walking around, working, and not bed ridden…but is sick none the less, and their resistance is weaker, and their immune system is burdened by the toxicity of the prescription drugs, amd so when they contract the covid19 virus they are now even more sick and weakened. Fact: those people on prescription drugs are sick people, and medical care has 80% of the population on prescription drugs, how did we let that happen? Mistrust? Blind Faith in people in white coats with little hoses around their neck connected to ear buds!…working in large buildings blinking with colored lights to show all are hard-Love you Honey Asawa at work running around with the main “tool”, the prescription pad.

    And the same medical people and the same drug (vaccine) manufacturing scientists are still in control, and we are still collectively trusting them? While we are experiencing right before our very eyes a ruination of our nation!

    Who is responsible for that Dr. Jim? The people on those drugs who are ignorant about their bodies, ignorant about nutrition for their bodies, ignorant about prescription drugs, virus, and vaccines.

    How many people have blind faith in vaccines they know nothing about? Never realizing they are having disease being injected into their body right past their immune system normality defended entry zones of their body, with a vaccine that is a manmade laboratory created disease?

    Bait and Switch comes to mind. Telling people they have a “cure” (the bait) for the virus on the “street” ready to attack and kill them when they go outside (like the fear of the sky is falling), only to switch the false bait words “vaccine cure”, with just another disease that is the vaccine, the vaccine with all the attendant side effects of the natural virus they are afraid of, which at the molecular level is NOT killing 94% (CDC STATISTICS) of the people but the decades long end of life diseases are, and as well the decades long use of prescription drugs is what’s killing the people.

    The public’s bodies are screaming: “Doctors get us off these prescription drugs and instead offer us the information education that will get us well and healthy without the signs and symptoms that leads you to give us toxic side effect prescription drugs causing more diseases in our bodies; teach us about food, diet and nutrition, and healthy lifestyles that preclude the use of prescription drugs, many of which cause lethal reactions, see TV Ads. We do not want to be dead, we want to be alive and the reason God put us on this earth!”

  9. What? November 14, 2020 8:52 am Reply

    Why are they making this so difficult. There is a rapid test and can deliver results in less than an hour. Make the airlines include it as part of the ticket, have them show up a couple hours before getting on the plane. And test!!!!!

  10. Reality Bites November 14, 2020 9:07 am Reply

    No one is visiting an island, as remote and expensive as Hawaii, and spending 2 weeks in quarantine. Tourism is the ONLY industry in Hawaii. You will bankrupt the state.

    Resident taxes do not pay medical bills for other residents or visitors. Medicaid, also known as free healthcare, will pay it at the national level for anyone that can’t pay their medical bill. Yet another benefit for being part of the USA vice “The Kingdom”.

    The testing is a joke. 72 hours prior to landing?? The airlines should test you prior to getting on your flight, then the state of Hawaii tests you getting off the plane. This signing up online, downloading your documents, providing you location, itinerary, is a joke.

    1. Paradise Lost November 15, 2020 12:28 am Reply

      Tourism is ~20% of Hawaii economy. That’s a large chunk but far from the ‘only’ industry. google it brah

  11. Kauaidoug November 14, 2020 9:50 am Reply

    They can come here sick but cannot leave here sick!

    Think about it.

  12. SunnyDazed November 14, 2020 11:19 am Reply

    I’m not anti tourism. But I admit to not feeling the aloha spirit for tourists choosing to be here now.
    What is happening with regards to those receiving their positive covid test after arriving to Kauai? Is everyone who flew on the same plane being asked to quarantine for 14 days as recommended by experts for those who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive?
    As each week passes after the reopening to tourists under the current safe travels program our island becomes more vulnerable to a crisis it seems few truly understand.
    Just a quick look at TripAdvisors Kauai Forum travel discussions reveals just how uninformed or misinformed tourists planning their Kauai vacations are and that Kauai with its low Covid numbers is a hot commodity for people wanting to get out of high risk areas.
    Other island destinations around the world have much more substantial requirements including not only multiple tests but also travel insurance.
    While I’m extremely concerned about our health system having personal knowledge of just how challenging health care is here without a pandemic, I’m also concerned what growing covid numbers in tourists could do to an already strapped county, should tourists be unable to cover the expenses of an “extended covid vacation.”
    My final thoughts are this: since we are a tourists destination, I believe we have an obligation to not only look out for the well being of our residents but we need also to look out for those visiting Kauai. Especially since most have no idea just how different it would be if they became critically ill here. And I don’t mean we need to be financially responsible for tourists. In fact, just the opposite. I’m talking about ethically. And that brings me to ask myself, are we prepared for a covid crisis to hit Kauai like what has occurred on the mainland or even our neighbor islands? Could our health system handle it if we had 50 new cases every week? How about 100 new cases?
    Five cases in one day could easily become much much more.
    Mayor: Please fix this before we can’t.

  13. Claudia Cowden November 14, 2020 12:19 pm Reply

    We seem to be lacking that one word a lot lately; RESULTS!

  14. Elizabeth November 14, 2020 1:37 pm Reply

    Thanks Doc 😊
    Could not have been written more succinct and eloquent.

    Even with a new proposal to require a negative test prior to travel..
    It makes no sense as once again you have a negative result over there only once again to incubate and show up positive on our side.

    Mayor Kawakami ~
    Shut it down

    Mahalo mahalo mahalo

  15. Paradise Lost November 15, 2020 12:32 am Reply

    It’s not clear what that survey means. When I’m walking down the street with no one around I don’t wear a mask. Anytime I go into a building or anywhere in close proximity to other people I wear a mask. It’s not clear to me exactly how they did the survey, so I don’t know which group I would be counted in.

  16. mike November 15, 2020 6:56 am Reply

    Why are people showing up on Kauai who have not received their test results? Two possible reasons. 1. They scheduled their test only a day or two prior to their flight instead of as close as possible to 72 hours prior to their flight departure. or 2. The lab took longer than 72 hours to process the results. The first problem is simply stupidity. The second problem is partly the state’s fault. To be on the states trusted testing partner approved list the state should require the lab to guarantee results in less then 72 hours which they currently are not doing. I know because when I was tested at Wallgreens in late October for my trip over there was no guarantee of when I would see the results, in fact they stated it could be 3-5 days! Lastly what exactly is the big problem? If someone comes on island having not yet received their results they must go into quarantine. And please stop talking about the hospital being overrun. Simply irrational fear, even now not even close to happening.

  17. truth be known November 15, 2020 3:19 pm Reply

    Time to stop “requesting” that travelers receive their test results before being allowed to travel here and DEMAND that this occurs. People’s lives are on the line here. The mandatory 2nd test after a 3 day quarantine should be instated immediately. Anything less than this is courting disaster long term.

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