DOH investigates 2 clusters

LIHU‘E — In the last two weeks, the state Department of Health has identified two active COVID-19 clusters on Kaua‘i, one associated with a restaurant and another a place of worship.

These clusters are the cause of 28 cases, 11 from the place of worship and 17 from the restaurant.

Lauren Guest, state DOH public health preparedness planner with the Kaua‘i District Health Office, said that publicly identifying cluster locations is a “last resort.”

“We do so when it is the only way we can notify those who may have been exposed of their risk,” Guest said Monday. “For example, when people may have been exposed over multiple days at one location, and there is no record of who was there.”

Guest said that the locations have been working with the DOH, and were able to notify all those at risk.

“For our current clusters, we did not have to identify the locations since we were able to work with both sites to notify everyone at risk. For our restaurant cluster, this only involved staff, not patrons, since the cases were only among staff who do not have contact with customers.”

In the case of the restaurant, there were five primary cases associated with the location and 12 secondary cases, Guest said. Most were unvaccinated, but a portion were fully vaccinated and experienced mild disease or asymptomatic infections.

“There was significant spread in this cluster amongst household members of the primary cases,” Guest said. “Specimens have been sent to the State Laboratory on O‘ahu to determine whether this high rate of spread might be the result of a variant.”

Earlier this month, the state announced the detection of the delta variant, which is more-transmissible than the original strain and results in a higher rate of severe illness than other variants. And last week, a case of the delta variant was detected on Kaua‘i in an un-vaccinated individual, the DOH announced.

The World Health Organization, in light of the delta variant, this week recommended that those who are fully vaccinated continue wearing masks. The state’s mask mandate requires masks indoors, and recommends the use in crowded outdoor gatherings.

“Now that the delta variant has been detected on Kaua‘i, it is more important than ever that residents who have not yet been vaccinated do so as soon as possible. The delta virus spreads rapidly in unvaccinated populations, so time is critical. Every vaccinated person makes a difference,” Guest said.

In the case of the place of worship, all were linked to one specific date about two weeks ago in un-vaccinated individuals.

“There has been no additional spread to other church members or locations,” Guest said.

The state anticipates hitting a 60% fully-vaccinated residency July 8, and will be loosening restrictions on social gatherings and allowing restaurants and bars to serve at 75% capacity.

In the last two months, the county has seen 85 COVID-19 infections, 27 travel-related and 58 linked to community transmission, Guest reported.

“The majority of our recent cases have been in people who were already in quarantine as close contacts,” Guest said. “This means that our case-investigation and contact-tracing efforts are effective, and our quarantine measures are limiting further spread.”

The county reported no new cases on Monday.


Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or

  1. RGLadder37 June 29, 2021 12:21 am Reply

    How do they know the coronavirus came from church? And if it’s from church, why don’t they just stay home and not go back until this whole thing cools down? We don’t really need church. Especially now that we are on unstable grounds. It just make sense to stay home yet and not attend church until it is okay to do so. For everyone’s safety.

  2. randy kansas June 29, 2021 2:32 am Reply

    so dumb…at risk for what…a stuffy nose for 2-3 days…these people have gone bat s. crazy….

  3. jake June 29, 2021 7:16 am Reply

    You’re not telling us the locations, because you either have relatives working there, or you got paid off. Probably both, but if you don’t tell the public where these clusters are located, you’re not doing your job DOH.

  4. Annnnd June 29, 2021 7:48 am Reply

    Hospitalized? No. Deaths, none. Fear and willingness to ignore reports on the new side effects added to emergency use vaccines. Informed consent.

  5. kimo June 29, 2021 8:42 am Reply

    Who and when? Very important questions. I have doubts the restaurant employees did not have contact with customers. Food prep, dish washing, busing tables? Restaurant workers were deemed “essential” and got priority for vaccines. Why so many did not take advantage? No proper IDs? The restaurant and church should be identified and face some public shaming for not protecting their customers/members.

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