COVID cases on the rise

LIHU‘E — Community transmission and cases of COVID-19 in children are on the rise on Kaua‘i.

Thursday, the state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office reported 13 new infections of COVID-19, 10 of which are considered community-acquired.

“We are observing unrelated, community-acquired infections islandwide,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said Thursday. “This indicates that, for the first time, we have extensive and sustained community transmission on our island.”

Thursday’s new cases were all in Kaua‘i residents, including five children and eight adults. Three of the cases were related to inter-island travel. With this, the county’s total active case count has risen to 43.

DOH Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said as of Wednesday night there were 47 active cases on the island, 45 of which were residents.

Of these cases, 32 were locally acquired and not related to travel.

“This tells us that the virus is now circulating widely in our community. This is the first time we’ve since this on Kaua‘i,” Berreman said. “Fifteen of the 47 cases had traveled off-island. Two-thirds of the travelers were infected while traveling inter-island. The other third was from mainland travel.”

Seventeen of the 47 were in cases of minors, Berreman reported.

“Some people may mistakenly believe that children can’t get the disease,” Berreman said. “Children can get and spread this disease, and are not eligible for vaccine. The best way to protect them is for everyone in their household 16 and over to get a vaccine.”

The county reported no transmission in school settings at this time. “So in-person learning remains a low risk,” Berreman said.

As for vaccination status, Berreman said that four of the 47 cases were fully vaccinated. Two of the four had no symptoms at all but tested positive, and two had mild symptoms.

“We know that the vaccine is not 100% effective in preventing disease, but it provides a very-high level of protection — and for those few who do become infected in spite of vaccine, they are unlikely to become seriously ill,” she said.

Earlier this month, the county reported the detection of two virus variants, B1429, known as the California Variant, and B117, known as the UK Variant. Berreman said that variant testing is ongoing in the current cases.

“Although we do not yet have results of variant testing, we expect our current cases will include these same variants,” Berreman said.

Wednesday, the DOH tested 362 people, which Kawakami said is well higher than the average, which results in catching more cases.

As of Thursday afternoon, the county remains on its least-restrictive Tier 4, which allows nearly all businesses, activities and gatherings to continue with minimal restrictions.

When the county hits more than two cases in a rolling seven-day average for total new cases or a test-positive rate above 1%, there will be a shift to Tier 3, which shuts down both outdoor and indoor organized team sports and puts increased limits on gatherings.

The island’s cumulative case total is 283 including 246 confirmed, two probable, and 35 tested off-island but reported after arrival.

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Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

21 Comments
  1. Wahoo April 30, 2021 12:49 am Reply

    There’s an applicable quote from Charles Frazier’s book “Cold Mountain”:

    “They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say ‘Sh**, it’s raining!”

    Medical research tells us that a single test regime like UnSafe Travels is largely ineffective despite claims by politicians such as Josh Green. This is also exacerbated by The higher transmissibility of variants was well documented worldwide

    The number of people fully vaccinated ahead of the 5 April opening was quite small and at that time I knew many at risk people asking for vaccinations and not able to get them.

    Like clockwork, the storm of community spread began two weeks after the flood gates were open

    Now the tone from Berreman and Kawakami in the video this article is referencing, while appropriately somber, was entirely suggestive that people are only to blame if they’re sick because they didn’t get vaccinated.

    If vaccination is the solution, then they opened 6 weeks too early. They succumbed to political pressure from the tourism industry led by power houses such as Grand Hyatt and now they’re blaming the people who live here for not following the rules of mask wearing and distancing and for not getting vaccinated. Sh** it’s raining!


    1. Paulo May 2, 2021 8:08 am Reply

      That is the problem in a nut shell. We opened weeks too early before everyone was able to get vaccinated. I think the mayor was under a great deal of pressure by business and the unemployed. He bent to that at the expense of those who became infected. Now he doesn’t seem to want restrictions saying that in the past we would be considered at tier one with all these new cases, but that times are now different. It’s different alright, daily cases in the teens.


  2. randy kansas April 30, 2021 2:41 am Reply

    its about time….we tried to fool mother nature for a year and now the natural transmission and herd process is kicking in…its not a good thing, but was bound to happen…


  3. Eric April 30, 2021 7:17 am Reply

    Keep telling us all the stats for these infections. 4 are vaccinated and 2 no symptoms and 2 are very mild tells us the vaccine is working. Every adult has their option to vaccinate. Open up and stay open. I know of those who do not want the vaccine, and they think they can handle. Stop thinking of lowering our tier, if anything, open up everything, let life do its course. The locals are traveling, bringing this virus back to us, so ya minas well get used to Kauai having some of this virus.


    1. westside resident May 1, 2021 7:41 am Reply

      If you are in fear, get vaccinated.

      Where’s the problem?

      Residents are flying back and forth to Las Vegas, and our kids remain out of school. The logic is thin amongst our ‘leadership’.

      Get the vaccine if you are fearful of getting sick and leave the rest of us alone.


  4. John April 30, 2021 7:50 am Reply

    I’ve stopped caring because Kawakami stopped caring. He knew exactly what would happen by re-opening the island before everyone here was vaccinated, and now we are living that reality. People will die, including children, but hopefully it was worth it for the mayor and his rich business friends because, y’know, $$$$


    1. Mike April 30, 2021 4:19 pm Reply

      I tend to agree with you, John. I’m fully vaccinated, and my job doesn’t require me to work closely with others.

      So why do I find myself more concerned than Kawakami about others less fortunate than me when it comes to COVID risk/exposure?

      Perhaps the answer is that I don’t have campaign contributors (read, tourism industry that BTW sends a lot of its profits off island) to keep happy?

      So yeah, maybe better to stop caring about people I don’t know. What a great culture to create. If it gets bad enough (and it just might) Kawakami will eventually have to answer for his decisions.

      But completely concur with you John, Kawakami knew exactly what they were doing re-opening when they did, before everyone who wanted a vaccine had a chance to complete that process. He and Berreman did some hand waiving about getting shots in the arms for the right segment of the population to contain wide community spread. It was clearly just a sales job at the time, and our numbers are showing that to be true.

      It is all about the $$$$


  5. John Patt April 30, 2021 7:51 am Reply

    The state has foisted its Unsafe Travels Program on us, knowing full well that there would be more COVID cases. So this is no surprise.


  6. Uncleaina April 30, 2021 8:24 am Reply

    First off TGI, this new case count is a RECORD HIGH SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN – don’t you think it deserves to be the lead story instead of something about blue jeans? And Mayor K: We’ve triggered Tier 3 already. The case positivity rate is 1.8%. The rolling average for past 14 days are above 2. There’s been 18 cases in past 2 days. We need to continue to follow the plan. Call it tier 3 like it is. We might be close to tier 2 soon. Quit saying how it’s mostly residents as if that makes it ok. The PROBLEM is the lack of the follow-up testing. Everyone who comes in who’s an undetected positive will widely spread in the community- in fact that’s already happened. Still 40% of the island isn’t vaccinated! You’re going to see lots of large clusters just like we’re seeing now unless we go back to requiring a follow up test. Sad to see us come this far only to start failing now. Maui requires follow up testing now; so should we.


    1. FollowTheScience April 30, 2021 9:55 am Reply

      You are so right. Based on the stats we should be in Tier 3 NOW! It sends a signal that we are not. I got my second vaccine shot yesterday. I will not be fully covered until the middle of May. Plenty of folks yesterday were getting their first shot, they won’t be fully covered until the middle of June or later. Hearing yesterday’s video the only strategy offered is get vaccinated, offered with appropriate gravitas. We could be heading for exponential growth, if that happens fully closing down may be the only solution. Move tiers. Follow the guidelines. Institute a mandatory second test for all travelers and consider reinstating the bubble.


    2. Hoi unko April 30, 2021 2:58 pm Reply

      Why you scared? Did you get your vaccine? Do you wear a mask? Do you wash your hands? Exercise? Eat healthy? If you’re doing those then you have nothing to worry about. And if you’re not then staying closed for your unhealthy lifestyle while other suffer mentally emotionally and financially is cruel.


      1. Paulo May 2, 2021 8:14 am Reply

        Viruses do not discriminate. Plenty of athletes who exercise and eat well still get covid.

        If you aren’t vaccinated it’s a matter of how close you have been to someone with it and usually they aren’t aware yet that they are infected.


  7. curious dog April 30, 2021 9:30 am Reply

    The amount of available ICU beds should dictate which Tier we’re at. Are any available at the moment? Last I read, KI still has only 9.


  8. Wailua Girl April 30, 2021 9:48 am Reply

    We have ALREADY hit Tier 2 levels, the mayor ignoring the numbers is wrong and needs to be called out. Do better, TGI.


  9. YuCalJoe April 30, 2021 11:59 am Reply

    The Hawaiian islands should have been provided vaccinations for all residents long ago. Everyone knows that Hawaii is a top travel destination, and relies heavily upon tourism for financial support. If this would have happened, then the number of cases would be extremely small (I’m allowing for small percentage who are vaccinated that still come down with COVID symptoms). Thus, the Hawaiian economy could have reopened to U.S. travelers only that have been vaccinated, tested before departing to Hawaii, and tested again upon arrival. And yes, still require a mask indoors and when attending outdoor crowded events and locations. Of course it’s easy for me to say all of this without being wrong because the time to implement the idea is long gone. But still, the aforementioned travel to Hawaii requirements should be put in place. Same for inter-island travel.


  10. truth be known April 30, 2021 1:42 pm Reply

    My question is of the 283 total cases, how many required hospitalization? Quite a few didn’t even know they had COVID, the majority either had minor symptoms or moderate ones. HOW MANY REQUIRED HOSPITALIZATION? Is there any information available concerning the “shedding” of viral particles from people who have been vaccinated? Pfizer warned in their literature that pregnant women should avoid people who have recently been vaccinated. Can we get REAL scientific information here?


  11. Mailman Mike April 30, 2021 2:18 pm Reply

    Todays Kauai Gov Covid site shows 16 new cases and 55 active. Over 100 in quarantine. I hope tomorrows paper has much needed info about the whos and wheres of these cases.


    1. Paulo May 1, 2021 12:33 pm Reply

      According to the Star Advertiser just out, today’s covid cases for Kauai are 17 with 60 active.


  12. mina April 30, 2021 4:58 pm Reply

    Sadly, Kauaiians generally won’t do anything about anything until their precious.keiki start dying. OK, the Reaper has just shown up with his smaller pruning sheers. Are your kids next? Still glad you went to that big family reunion where all of your drunk uncles refused to mask up or keep their distance?


  13. kauai May 1, 2021 7:26 am Reply

    Here on Kauai , we, for the most part, have been very good about masking up to protect ourselves and each other. Now it’s time to vaccinate to protect ourselves and each other and get back to living. At this point if you are over 16 and haven’t gotten your shot then I have no sympathy whatsoever. For heaven’s sake, get your vaccination!


  14. Noe May 1, 2021 6:26 pm Reply

    Wish everyone would stop blaming the mayor. He protected us and was proactive from the very beginning. That’s why are numbers were so low for so long. He protected us no matter how unpopular it was for him. The problem is not him. It’s the selfish people that goes to work feeling ill and people who were in contact with positive cases and still going all over the place and possibly spreading it. People need to be considerate of others. We are all putting our guards down cause of the vaccination. But not following guidelines still in place.


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