LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i officials are pointing to Las Vegas travel and places of worship for a recent spike in COVID-19 infections.
“Many of the recent cases are in residents who traveled to the mainland, where the delta variant is spreading rapidly,” Mayor Derek Kawakami reported Monday. “The biggest hotspot for bringing COVID home to Kaua‘i? Las Vegas. I know Las Vegas is a popular destination, but it poses significant risks. Most of the popular activities are indoors and can be crowded.”
Unlike Hawai‘i, there is no indoor mask mandate in Las Vegas, a hotspot for tourism often referenced as the Ninth Island.
“Visitors usually stay indoors for a long time,” Kawakami said. “They mingle with others from all over the country, including from states where COVID and the delta variant are spreading rapidly.”
Here on-island, the Kaua‘i District Health Office reported another cluster within a place of worship that has resulted in four primary or secondary cases as of Monday.
“This makes two currently active clusters in places of worship, and five to date since the pandemic began,” KDHO Public Health Preparedness Planner Lauren Guest said Monday. “This is more clusters than we have had in any other setting type. We often find in the course of these investigations, a number of people were not wearing masks or observing physical distancing requirements.”
Only one new case was reported yesterday in an adult resident who is a close contact of a previously announced case. This case will be classified as mainland travel-related, the KDHO reported. This past weekend, the county reported 12 new cases, eight adult residents, two resident children and two adult visitors. Six are classified as travel-related and six are community transmission.
Guest reminded residents and visitors alike to wear masks within indoor settings, as well as limit exposure to those outside the household and to get vaccinated.
Statewide, over 65% of Hawai‘i residents have started the process of vaccination, with about 59% fully vaccinated, according to the state’s Department of Health.
As of Monday, about 59% of Kaua‘i residents have completed inoculation. About 69% of the eligible population for a vaccine against COVID-19, including those 12 and older, have been fully vaccinated, DOH numbers show.
Over 1.7 million doses of vaccines have been administered as of Sunday in the state, the DOH reported. Honolulu County has the highest rate of vaccination, at this time, at 61% of the total population completed.
“A majority of us are now vaccinated, but we need to reach at least 70% to achieve herd immunity and protect our community,” Kawakami said.
Once the state hits a population of 70% fully vaccinated, restrictions on travel and mask-wearing will be lifted.
Currently, the county has 49 active cases, with two hospitalized.
Kaua‘i’s cumulative case count includes 476 confirmed locally, three probable, and 41 positive cases diagnosed elsewhere, as they received their pre-travel test results after arriving on island.