Small spike in Kaua‘i cases linked to large gatherings, travel

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The Garden Island reporter Sabrina Bodon gets a post-travel test Monday at the COVID-19 test site at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihu‘e.

LIHU‘E — Monday, the state Department of Health reported the detection of the Delta variant, B.1.617.2, within the state. This variant was first detected in India, and makes up about 6% of all cases in the United States.

This variant was first detected in an O‘ahu resident who traveled to Nevada in early May, where the variant was first reported in that state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent categorized this variant as “concerning.”

“Early evidence suggests the Delta variant might spread more quickly than other SARS-CoV-2 strains,” State Laboratories Division Administrator Edward Desmond said in a statement.

“There are reports the Delta variant produces a higher rate of severe illness than original COVID-19, but we do not yet have enough evidence to support that conclusion.”

The O‘ahu resident was fully vaccinated at the time, and presented a negative COVID-19 pre-travel test prior to entering the state, but developed mild symptoms after returning to Hawai‘i. The DOH reported the resident then tested positive and was quarantined.

“The vaccines not only help protect against infection, they protect against severe illness,” said Dr. Elizabeth Char, state DOH director in a statement. “While this is one of those very-rare, breakthrough cases in which the vaccine did not prevent infection, the infected person did not suffer severe illness.”

While not detected officially on Kaua‘i, officials are looking into a recent uptick in cases.

Monday, DOH Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman warned of large gatherings and travel-related COVID-19 infections as the state loosens its travel restrictions.

“We have seen some disturbing trends locally in the past couple of days,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said.

Since the start of the month, 17 cases were reported, including one false positive linked to mainland travel. Two cases were reported Monday, both in residents related to community transmission.

“Here on Kaua’i, we are seeing another rise in cases,” Berreman said Monday. Many of these cases are related to each other, and are linked to travel — either mainland or inter-island. Importantly, they are also linked to large gatherings.”

Berreman pointed to those being unvaccinated and lack of mask use as potential causes of the Kaua‘i surge.

”We are especially seeing cases related to large gatherings where mask use has been inconsistent. Our recent cases show us that non-vaccinated individuals are at high risk of infection in large gatherings,” Berreman said.

According to the DOH, over 1.6 million dosages of vaccines have been given in the state, for about 55% of the population inoculated, as of Monday. Kaua‘i has the highest rate of vaccination in the state, with 53% completing the vaccine.

“More than half of us are now fully vaccinated. If just half of those who are vaccinated successfully convince just one other person to get vaccinated, we will meet our goal of 70% fully-vaccinated. That’s just one other person — not one each day, or one each week, but one. Period,” Berreman said.

When the state reaches 60% fully-vaccinated, those who have been vaccinated in the United States may skip the travel quarantine with proof. When the state hits 70%, all travel restrictions will be lifted across the state, and on Kaua‘i, all other restrictions will also end.

Starting today, the state’s inter-island travel quarantine is lifted, but a Safe Travels application is still be needed. Those who have been fully vaccinated, with at least one dose originating from Hawai‘i, will be able to find a travel exemption by uploading their vaccination information to the Safe Travels platform.

“With new and more-transmissible variants on the rise even in Hawai‘i and on Kaua‘i, it’s important for you to know that being fully vaccinated also protects you from these variants,” Berreman said.

Pop-up vaccine clinics for those 18 and older will be held on Saturday, June 19, at the Anaina Hou farmers’ market in Kilauea and the Kaumakani Community Hall, and at Rob’s Good Time’s Grill in the Rice Shopping Center in Lihu‘e Saturday, June 26.

These events are sponsored by Ho‘ola Lahui Community Health Clinic, in partnership with Malama Pono Health Services, the DOH Kaua‘i District Health Office and the county. Registration is with the Ho‘ola Lahui hotline at 808-938-0938.

This story was updated at 12:06 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15 to correct that the clinic will be at the Kaumakani Community Hall, not Kaumakani Neighborhood Center.

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

10 Comments
  1. m June 15, 2021 5:25 am Reply

    “While this is one of those very-rare, breakthrough cases in which the vaccine did not prevent infection, the infected person did not suffer severe illness.”

    Hey Dr. Char from the DOH, plenty people still getting virus after the “shot”-that you call the vaccine though the FDA won’t call it that- so not rare . . . nor a breakthrough. Glad the shot claims to be helpful, and maybe it is, but I wish the Dr.’s would study up and stop feeding the general public inaccurate details . . .


  2. RGLadder37 June 15, 2021 6:10 am Reply

    Are you making a party? Tier 4 means gatherings indoors to 10. Outdoors to 25. Parties up to 200 outdoors.

    55% of the population being vaccinated. This is not yet good to hear. The variant is still circulating around waiting to attach itself to someone’s lungs and do damage. I’ll be keeping up. Still have my travel plans. And going. And i am still listed as Pakistani.


  3. Da Shadow June 15, 2021 6:27 am Reply

    The media (and our bumbling‘government’ here on Kauai love to talk about cases, but how many even get hospitalized?

    Is there really an emergency anymore?
    (If so, don’t tell Florida, Texas, Oregon, California… etc)


  4. Rick June 15, 2021 6:57 am Reply

    How are people so trusting? It blows my mind the level of trust in these people that continue to lie lie lie!!. I’d like to the think Derek and Janet are just ignorant but at this point we are way past giving them the benefit of the doubt. The information is there. They are absolutely complicit in these crimes against humanity. I guess this is what happens when the history is lost or intentionally corrupted.

    Until one realizes that the information war that is taking place is in fact real, one rarely looks beyond their own confirmation bias.

    If you can set your pride aside for a moment and you don’t know what the highwire is, please go to thehighwire.com and start watching Del bigtree and TEST what he is saying to be true or not. There are MANY speaking out.

    Lord Yehusha! May we experience your perfect Love! For in that love we have no fear!


  5. Kauaidoug June 15, 2021 7:24 am Reply

    Please, get vaccinated!


    1. Kauaipug June 15, 2021 9:09 pm Reply

      How about no. Just stay home and avoid people. It’s what you enjoyed the most about the last 15 months. That and feeling morally superior and telling others what to do. Kick rocks douglass


  6. CommonSenseish June 15, 2021 11:39 am Reply

    *EYEROLL* I think if we are going to continue to report Covid Results, we need to also be reporting Flu & Herpes diagnosis as well. People are living their lives. Get over it Kawakami. Maybe spend what’s left of your (1) term doing something productive?


  7. Harvey June 15, 2021 12:56 pm Reply

    These spikes are not small when adjusted for population. Over the last few days the infection per 100K on Kauai has been double that of Honolulu.


  8. truthbeknown June 15, 2021 2:23 pm Reply

    This is, without a doubt, the craziest scenario I have ever witnessed. In order for a tourist to be exempt from quarantine, they have to have 1 vaccine shot while in Hawaii? So the J&J shot, which only requires 1 shot, has to be done in Hawaii? Is the J&J shot on the mainland somehow different from the one given here? I think not. Do we somehow get the “extra special one” with more preservatives, more toxic adjuvants, more magnetic ID chips? I hope not. It’s hard to believe we actually pay people to come up with these asinine procedures. If a tourist can show proof of being fully vaccinated, they should be allowed into Hawaii without a test, period! If it turns out that the vaccines really don’t work as prescribed, then everybody should be tested before coming to Hawaii. The “KISS” principle should definitely apply here.


    1. semperubisububi June 16, 2021 9:32 am Reply

      The State of Hawaii knows every individual thus far who has been vaccinated in Hawaii. So people who have been vaccinated here have their names already in the system and can come and go freely. So far, the state does not have ability to access data from other states as to those who have been vaccinated but I believe they are working on this to make it easier for out-of-staters to come here. Of course any brand of vaccine, such as the J&J, is the same here as it is anywhere else.


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