LIHU‘E —The state Department of Health reported that 57% of Hawai‘i residents had received a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday.
About 62% of residents have initiated the vaccination process by receiving at least one of a two-dose process.
Once the state reaches 60% fully-vaccinated residents, those traveling from anywhere in the United States may bypass the state’s mandatory quarantine with proof of vaccination through the state’s Safe Travels program. But lifting restrictions isn’t the only incentive officials are touting to get more people vaccinated.
State DOH Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman reiterated that a new variant has hit the islands, making a stronger case for vaccination.
“Last week the Department of Health announced that the ‘delta’ COVID variant, originally detected in India, had been found in our state,” Berreman said Monday during the county’s COVID-19 briefing. “The (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) also declared delta to be a ‘variant of concern.’”
Berreman said that while there is “some indication” of this variant causing more-severe symptoms of the disease, that information is still being studied.
“So, yes, we should be concerned about new variants. We certainly expect them to become more and more common, as they have elsewhere,” Berreman said.
“But our concern should move us to act. Vaccination protects us from the delta variant. If you are not vaccinated and are worried about the delta variant, please get vaccinated today. That single step will protect you, your loved ones and our community.”
And as the state moves toward this 60% goal, many of the Hawai‘i National Guard members returned to their respective homes on neighbor islands.
“As the last commander of Task Force Kaua‘i, it was my pleasure to lead and be amazed at the partnership between members of Task Force Kaua‘i and the Kaua‘i county emergency management team,” Hawai‘i Air National Guard Maj. Francis Lessett said Monday.
“This pandemic has changed us all. Many hands made light work of past, stressful times, and it taught us that together guard, county and our community could prevail to see our island home restored.”
During their time here, over 100 guard personnel helped to dole out over 4,400 vaccinations, and performed many other functions, including visiting homes, hotels and other places to ensure those who were required to quarantine were indeed isolating.
About 20 members will remain through the end of September at Lihu‘e Airport.
Monday, the county reported no new cases, but noted 18 active cases and 27 individuals in quarantine. The DOH is also investigating a cluster at a place of worship that resulted in 10 total cases, according to a report.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.