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2 new virus cases; UK variant found here

LIHU‘E — Two new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Monday by the state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office, and two other cases have been removed from the case count because of lab errors.

Both of the newly-reported cases are female residents — one adult and one child — whose sources of infection remain under investigation. Contacts are being identified, directed to quarantine and offered testing.

The two cases that were removed from the total count include a visitor travel-related case and a resident community transmission case that were unrelated to any current cases.

“Two cases reported yesterday have been removed from the case count after the Department of Health was notified by the lab that there was a reporting error,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, head of the Kaua‘i District Health Office, in a Monday statement. “We have been assured that procedures are being put in place to prevent future lab errors.”

Berreman, in a video Monday, suggested that the recent spike in cases is a combination of more-highly-transmissible variants and an increase in travel.

On Monday, the county had confirmed the B.117, “UK variant” was discovered in a Kaua‘i visitor. The visitor received a negative pre-travel test before flying from the mainland to Kaua‘i, then tested positive several days after arriving.

Last week, the county reported the so-called “California variant” B1.429, among a seven-member household cluster.

“We knew we would see more cases as we rejoined Safe Travels, but we didn’t expect to see quite so many so soon,” Berreman said. “This is likely a reflection of more-transmissible variants being increasingly common statewide and on the mainland. These variants are likely to spread more easily within households and among close contacts.”

The DOH also announced Monday the resumption of using Johnson &Johnson vaccines, starting Thursday at a vaccination clinic on O‘ahu.

Use of the Johnson &Johnson vaccine was paused for 11 days while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration examined the risk of blood clots developing in people who receive the Johnson &Johnson vaccine.

“The pause and thorough safety review demonstrates the commitment we all share in ensuring vaccine safety,” said state DOH Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “We are excited Johnson &Johnson will again play an important role in the fight against COVID-19.”

Monday’s cases bring the number of active cases to 22 on Kaua‘i, with 258 cumulative cases.

Kaua‘i’s cumulative case count includes 223 confirmed locally, two probable, and 33 positive cases diagnosed elsewhere, as they received their pre-travel test results after arriving on island.
Source: The Garden Island

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