LIHU‘E — In line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the state shortening its mandatory, 14-day quarantine to 10 days, effective Thursday, Dec. 17.
And those who arrived on Kaua‘i on Dec. 7 will retroactively be included. Instead of getting out of quarantine Dec. 21, those who came in will be able to get out of quarantine four days earlier, Dec. 17.
Mayor Derek Kawakami said the county is waiting for formal confirmation of the change from Gov. David Ige’s office, but has begun informing travelers.
The county is enforcing the quarantine of all incoming travelers, regardless of a pre-travel test or origin. This suspension of the state’s Safe Travels program is temporary, county officials said. This measure was implemented as a way to get ahead of a small spike in COVID-19 infections as well as stay in Tier 4, the least-restrictive to businesses and activities.
Friday, Kawakami called an increase in the county’s COVID-19 case count “disturbing,” as the state Department of Health reported four new cases. Two were deemed community-spread and the others travel-related.
DOH Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said the majority of recent cases have been residents, not visitors, and more than half of these have been through community acquisition.
“This means that the virus is circulating in our community — although still in small numbers,” Berreman said in Friday’s COVID-19 update from the county.
The county currently has 15 active cases in isolation, with one hospitalized on O‘ahu.
“Our community-acquired cases cannot be linked to any specific place or activity. They are appearing in widely-separated locations around our island, meaning the threat is islandwide.”
Contact tracing is ongoing, but Berreman said, “We rely in you — our community members — to support our efforts by continuing safe practices and continuing your kokua when we call you,” Berreman said. “Although we may be breathing a sigh of relief due to the reduction in travel, the rise in community disease transmission means we should be wearing our masks at all times when we are outside our homes and around other people.”
Sunday, the county will continue its free community surge testing at Hanapepe Stadium from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The county offers the testing at rotating locations through the end of the year. For a full list of locations and to pre-register, visit kauai.gov/testing.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.