LIHU‘E — As of Monday afternoon, the state’s Safe Travels dashboard showed about 30,066 arrivals into the state yesterday, with about 3,871 registered trips to Kaua‘i.
Just last Monday, the county saw 1,064 arrivals screened.
Kaua‘i re-entered the state’s Safe Travels program for Trans-Pacific travelers, meaning both out-of-state and inter-island fliers can bypass the 10-day travel quarantine by providing a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departing to Kaua‘i.
And airlines are ramping up service to the island.
Trans-Pacific flights jumped from three to eight starting yesterday, Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau Executive Director Sue Kanoho said Monday. That includes additional flights from Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest.
“We saw an increase in arrivals during spring break utilizing the resort bubbles and expect to see an increase in arrivals starting (yesterday),” Kanoho said.
Monday, Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman warned that while travel is opening, signaling a boost to the economy, there are still risks out there.
“We are re-entering the state’s Safe Travels Program for out-of-state travelers,” Berreman said. “This is good news in terms of employment and income for many residents, and it also means more risk of disease. So in the coming days and weeks it is especially important that we continue to follow safe practice.”
Last week, the county did see an increase in travel-related cases, Berreman said during the county’s Team Kaua‘i COVID-19 Briefing.
“All of these cases are travel related, with six cases in one household related to inter-island travel by residents,” Berreman said. “The number of close contacts is quite large — more than 35 close contacts are subject to 10-day Department of Health quarantine.”
Some of these close contacts had received at least one of two vaccinate dosages, and “few were fully vaccinated and not subject to quarantine,” Berreman said. A full vaccination will allow residents to not have to quarantine should they be a close contact.
“Many close contacts had not yet completed their vaccinations, so are subject to DOH quarantine,” Berreman said. “In the future, more and more close contacts will have been fully vaccinated. In that case, the Department of Health just gives them a call to let them know to self-monitor. Their activities are not restricted at all.”
Monday afternoon, Gov. David Ige discussed two digital health applications, Clear and CommonPass, that are currently piloting “vaccine passports.
The program would allow fully vaccinated individuals to travel without testing and restrictions.
“They’re both piloting validation of PCR testing and they are seeing good results,” Ige said. “Both have committed to including vaccination data into their platforms when available. It’s going to take some time but these companies are at the forefront of verifying vaccination status.”