Kawakami proposes two new rules to safeguard island

LIHU‘E — Monday evening, Mayor Derek Kawakami sent up two proposed local emergency rules for Gov. David Ige’s approval in an attempt to fill in gaps on the state’s Safe Travels program.

The first rule would require participants of the program to quarantine for 72 hours prior to taking a mandatory post-travel test. Upon a negative result, the traveler may be released from quarantine.

The second rule requires travelers to have a negative test prior to flying to Kaua‘i. If results are not available upon arrival on island, the traveler would be required to quarantine for two weeks.

“We know this announcement will result in a lot of frustration for travelers and those in our visitor industry, but the outbreak of COVID-19 across the nation is occurring at a faster rate than we’ve ever seen before,” Kawakami said in a statement. “We have the unique opportunity to see the wave of disease coming, and in order to avoid a full shutdown, we must take decisive, aggressive action.”

Kawakami hopes to receive an answer to his rules within the next day.

“Time is of the essence and we are hopeful the Governor will honor the promised 24-hour review period,” he said.

Last week, Kawakami and his administration expressed frustration at the current Safe Travels program, which allows travelers to bypass a mandatory 14-day quarantine by producing a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival into the state.

Since the state’s Oct. 15 reopening, the county has seen nine travel-related positive cases that involved travelers who had taken a pre-travel but received their positive results after boarding their flights and arriving on the island.

Another gap in the system has been linked to travelers with a negative pre-travel test later being diagnosed with COVID-19. To date, the county has caught 12 cases like this.

In the last month, the county has seen 26 travel-related positive COVID-19 cases.

“A month into the state’s Safe Travels program, it is clear that a single pre-travel test is not sufficient to protect us from the spread of COVID-19. Our cases are increasing much faster than initial state projections,” Kawakami said in a press release. “Currently, we sit at Tier 4 — the least restrictive tier — and this is where we want to remain.”

Emergency Rule #21 is similar to the county’s proposed post-arrival, two-test system, which Kawakami requested approval for in September but was denied.

In lieu of this program, the county began offering its own post-arrival test to residents and visitors using its own supply of rapid tests. However, within a sample period between Oct. 15 to 26, only 20% of eligible returning residents took a post-travel test, while only 2% of visitors.

  1. Kauai Senior Citizen November 17, 2020 5:59 am Reply

    Let’s follow the science and support is proposal. It is reasonable and protects all of us.

  2. Uncleaina November 17, 2020 6:18 am Reply

    Absolutely! Our mayor is right, several of our hospitalizations would have been prevented by these new rules – the people would have never been allowed on the plane. Clearly, even though the island is “open” there’s not enough business to sustain tourism right now. We should focus on getting through the holidays safely then see what the vaccines will offer.

  3. nobody November 17, 2020 7:26 am Reply

    If local residents were restricted from travel the numbers make it look like Covid cases would be reduced by over 70%.

    See any large family or community groups of tourists hanging out without masks socializing? Locals have been 100% responsible for Covid community spread on Kauai.

    If we are going to solve the Covid problem we should first identify what exactly is causing the problem.

    Eric Clapton sang, “Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself”.

    That being said, I think we should have a mandatory second test on Kauai for all returning passengers and let them pay for it. Government can’t handle the $1,000,000 a week cost of doing this. If you can’t afford a test, don’t travel. Enough people will pay to keep the economy alive.

  4. Makaala November 17, 2020 7:48 am Reply

    Hat’s off to the mayor and his team for trying his best to keep the virus from spreading through travel. Mahalo and keep up the good work you are doing!

  5. manawai November 17, 2020 7:59 am Reply

    “In lieu of this program, the county began offering its own post-arrival test to residents and visitors using its own supply of rapid tests. However, within a sample period between Oct. 15 to 26, only 20% of eligible returning residents took a post-travel test, while only 2% of visitors.”

    Huh! I’d heard that the voluntary post-travel test was only being offered to returning residents and not visitors as stated above.

  6. John Patt November 17, 2020 8:15 am Reply

    Thank you, Derek. We got your back.

  7. Nate November 17, 2020 8:23 am Reply

    This will end all mainland travel. No one will be willing to bet thousands of dollars and their vacation on a testing lab getting results back to them in time.

  8. Daniel November 17, 2020 8:30 am Reply

    Covid is spiking again! What a coincidence! Run for the hills! Hide in your home! Don’t talk or socialize with anyone! Don’t pay attention to the fact that the globalists in cahoots with the Democrats and mainstream media are literally stealing your country out from under you. Don’t pay attention to the fact they are crushing the accrued wealth of all middle class citizens!!! Only when the boot of communism is on the necks of these people will they realize what they did. Wake up folks. the Media is the virus. The Great Reset is underway.

    1. Dt November 17, 2020 9:34 pm Reply

      I second this opinion. Keeping the island closed will lead to poverty. Poverty will lead to hunger and drug use. Hunger will lead to crime. At first it will start out as petty crime, but will not stop there. What if Kauai becomes the next Detroit, then what? Will everyone be happy that it has lower COVID cases? Stop the madness and let people work to feed their families. Everyone screeching about keeping the island closed, let’s see you make a donation to the food bank each time you say that. Put your money up to back your opinion.

  9. Susan November 17, 2020 8:44 am Reply

    Gee, thanks Mr. Mayor. Maybe you should have thought of this BEFORE re-opening to a bunch of infected budget-travelers.

    You are single-handedly undoing all of our sacrifices that we as a community made in the Spring. So what was ever the point?

  10. Rev Dr Malama November 17, 2020 9:10 am Reply

    Unbelievable and irresponsible…. the dark side of humanity is revealed as COVID-19 continues to rage around the world!
    Kauai people did their best to give up rights and civil liberties believing that the government from the bottom up was preparing for a long period of pandemic.
    The unlawful occupation has proved flawed and consistent with perpetuating lines that benefit only the wealthy.
    Hewa is the result at the cost of the innocent…..
    We are even more likely to rebel against the war criminals who are laughing at our independence efforts…..

  11. Rob Young November 17, 2020 11:08 am Reply

    The pre-arrival tests are expensive, will the county offer free or more affordable post arrival tests to visitors & returning residents?

  12. steven pimental November 17, 2020 11:39 am Reply

    I think all testing should be at the airport , everyone entering the plane should be negative. anyone waiting or pending are not allowed to enter the airplane.

  13. Sam November 17, 2020 12:36 pm Reply

    Kudos to Mayor Kawakami for doing the right thing and putting health of the local residents first. Hopefully Governor Ige will also do the right thing given the limited health care resources we have in Kauai.

  14. Chop Thinking November 17, 2020 1:49 pm Reply

    This thinking too can be chopped to pieces.

    We can only hope this this article will stay on line for others to contribute yays and nays.

  15. Lehua November 17, 2020 8:10 pm Reply

    The science is less than 1% of the people infected are actually dying. What is really dying here is JOBS, our ECONOMY, and our NORMAL AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE. Lord Kawakami and his entourage have only had over 9 MONTHS TO FIGURE THIS OUT. All we see is MORE RULES we have to follow that infringe on our rights. It is a VIRUS. Get over it. Everyone else is living with it. Its alarming to see how all the sheep just fall in line with our Lord Kawakami and drink the kool-aid.

    1. Anna Nimatee November 17, 2020 10:52 pm Reply

      The US population as of this writing is 331,754,331. As of this writing, the data from the Johns Hopkins website at coronavirus.jhu.edu show the USA had 11,359,802 confirmed cases – one in twenty-nine Americans have been confirmed of having had COVID-19. 2.24% – a quarter of a million – of those people have died. The US has 4.25% of the world’s population, a little over 20% of the globally confirmed COVID-19 cases, and about 19% of the world’s deaths from COVID-19. Nobody has the “right” to not wear a mask and cough on another person or infect them during this pandemic. During the AIDS epidemic, a person knowingly transmitting the disease to another was charged and criminally prosecuted. Ironic that the same people who don’t follow “rules” like wearing masks – “my body, my right,” also oppose women’s rights to choose what happens with their own bodies.

  16. Richard Randolph November 18, 2020 12:01 am Reply

    I just want to give my support for the Mayor’s proposal. Almost 250,000 Americans have died of COVID-19. To say it is just another virus is just crazy. This is not the flu; it is a real killer, and it is really dangerous for senior citizens. I am thankful every day that I live on Kaua’i and that the mayor took the early steps he did to protect us. People who want to open up the island are thinking with their wallets and not with their hearts.

  17. Don Shoomer November 23, 2020 6:35 am Reply

    I’s Nazi Germany 1938 all over again — and YOU the people let it happen.

    Why ? Because you do not know history.

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