LIHU‘E — Wednesday, the county reported one new infection in an adult female attributed to community spread.
There are currently 13 active cases, all in isolation. One case is hospitalized on O‘ahu.
The county’s expected to receiving its first delivery of vaccines as soon as this week, but there’s not an exact date for vaccine distribution.
The first to get the vaccine will be health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities, followed by first responders. Essential workers and those with chronic conditions and kupuna over 65 follow.
The county has about 2,195 high-risk health workers and 10 long-term and assisted living homes, according to the state’s October vaccine plan.
“Vaccines are important in helping us achieve herd immunity,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said Wednesday. “While getting vaccinated is completely voluntary, the goal is to vaccinate 70% of our population. And it is a massive national effort to vaccinate tens of millions of people. This process is expected to take several months, well into next year.”
Wednesday, the state received another shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, totaling to 3,900 of the state’s prepositioned order of 4,875 dosages. The state’s Department of Health requested an additional 7,800 doses, which is expected to be delivered next week.
Effective today, Dec. 17, the state’s mandatory travel quarantine will be reduced from two weeks down to 10 days, which is concurrent with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This new state rule will be retroactive, meaning those who are currently under a 14-day quarantine will only need to be confined for 10 days.
“This means, if you flew to Kaua‘i between December 3 to 6, your quarantine will end on December 17,” Kawakami clarified during his COVID-19 update video. “If you flew to Kaua‘i after December 7, your quarantine will end exactly 10 days from the time you arrived.”
Wednesday’s case sets the county’s cumulative case count to 156, which includes 137 confirmed locally, one probable and 18 positive cases diagnosed elsewhere, with pre-travel test results determined after arriving to Kaua‘i.
“We have seen our first case diagnosed in a close contact after the new 10-day quarantine period,” Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said in a press release. “This is a reminder that the incubation period for this disease remains 14 days. The 10-day quarantine period comes with the understanding that a small number of close contacts will still become ill up to 14 days after their exposure.”
Berreman urged continued caution when coming back from travel and in general community settings.
“So those released from quarantine on day 10 need to continue exercising care: wearing masks, keeping a distance from others, and seeking testing if they develop symptoms — especially in the four days after release from quarantine,” she said.