LIHU‘E — The state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Two adult male visitors tested positive and are now in isolation. Neither is hospitalized at this time.
Both visitors participated in the state’s Safe Travels program and had negative test results before their travel. They later tested positive on Kaua‘i. Further details are under investigation. Close contacts are being identified, asked to quarantine and offered testing.
Kaua‘i’s cumulative case total is now 94. Of those, 84 are confirmed on-island, one is probable, and nine are confirmed positive tests performed out-of-state/off-island but reported after arrival/return to Kaua‘i.
There are now 14 active cases, with two hospitalized, three in an isolation facility, and nine in home isolation. In addition, 65 close contacts are in DOH-directed quarantine, including three in a quarantine facility. The number of close contacts in quarantine may increase as investigation of the cases continues.
The county is currently in Tier 4, the lowest tier on Kaua‘i’s Business and Recreational Guidelines for COVID-19 Tier Tracker.
If cases remain above a weekly average of two per day for two weeks, or test positivity remains above a weekly average of 1% for two weeks, the county will move to Tier 3, prompting additional restrictions. With Tuesday’s cases, Kaua‘i is currently at an average of 1.71 daily cases and 0.9% test positivity.
For more information on the state’s COVID-19 cases or the state’s Safe Travels program, visit hawaiicovid19.com.
For more information on the county’s voluntary post-travel testing program, visit kauai.gov/COVID-19. For more information on the county’s new surge-testing program, visit kauai.gov/test.
Ige to standardize mask mandate
Gov. David Ige has announced plans to sign an emergency proclamation that would clarify the current statewide mask mandate aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.
The Democratic governor told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Monday that he met with all four county mayors last week to create identical rules for mask requirements on each of the islands, meaning each county would be subject to the same language.
“It will be required for everyone in the state of Hawai‘i to wear a mask while they’re in public,” Ige said. “Period.”
The mandate is expected to provide some exemptions, which will also be the same across each of the counties. Ige, a Democrat, did not immediately provide further details about the exemptions.
The announcement came after concerns emerged that residents and visitors would be confused with various regulations. Visitor-industry leaders requested a legislative special session to make the rules clear.
Some have also raised concerns about the misdemeanor penalty for people who violate the order, which can result in fines up to $5,000 and the possibility of a permanent criminal record.
Ige said it would be cumbersome to try to create a uniform mask mandate in a legislative special session and to reduce the penalties through legislation.
It was unclear when the statewide mask mandate updates will take effect.
Hawai‘i has had more than 16,400 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including more than 200 deaths, since the pandemic began in March, health officials said.
There have been 173 virus-related deaths on O‘ahu, 31 on Hawai‘i Island, 17 on Maui, and one from Kaua‘i who died on the mainland.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.