Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023 |
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LIHU‘E — The final COVID-19-related county emergency rule has been lifted, Mayor Derek Kawakami announced Monday.
Effective today, the county has no limits on indoor or outdoor social gatherings. Showing proof of vaccination or of a negative COVID-19 test are also no longer mandatory as the county’s rules, but officials still recommend large-event organizers to promote best practices.
“Kaua‘i County has been doing so well for so long,” Kawakami said yesterday. “We’ve only really had one restriction at the county-level for a number of months.”
And even over time, Kawakami said, this rule had evolved from the county requiring event organizers to register gatherings with the county to slowly loosening those rules.
“We saw a high level of compliance and cooperation all around, from community members doing the right thing to businesses,” he said. “Businesses are doing the right thing and most people on Kaua‘i have all gotten acclimated to living with COVID-19, so this is really the last restriction at the county level, and we feel this is the right time and place…”
Kawakami’s announcement came after mayors on Maui, O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island announced the end of COVID-19-related rules on their islands.
Monday, the state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office announced 23 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county’s number of active cases to 83, with four hospitalized.
The state continues its current emergency proclamations, which include an indoor mask mandate, the state’s Safe Travels program for incoming travelers, and a vaccination/testing program for county employees.
Hawai‘i is one of the last states to still have an indoor mask mandate, but there are conversations at the state level about that being lifted, too. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention said it’s no longer recommending indoor masking for most Americans, based on county-level data.
According to the CDC, Kaua‘i is at a medium-risk level, which recommends that those at a high risk for severe illness speak with a health-care provider on whether they should wear a mask; be up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations; and get tested if there are present symptoms. This level does not recommend a mask indoors.
“As far as wearing masks, that is going to evolve as well,” Kawakami said. “Families are going to have to take a personal assessment of their risk tolerance, and families are going to have to also assess how much risk they’re willing to take in certain activities.”
As for county COVID-19-services, like free rapid testing and mobile vaccine vans, those will remain in place, but will be evaluated as time goes on.
“We’re going to take an assessment,” Kawakami said, noting that testing demand has leveled out. “We might be looking at a model that has a testing facility that can be scaled up and scaled down as needed.”
Sabrina Bodon, editor, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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