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COVID cases on the rise

LIHU‘E — As community spread cases rise, free testing at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, will be an option for residents.

Appointments will be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis with a maximum of 350 appointments a day. On Friday, by 9:15 a.m., all 350 appointment slots were filled.

Friday, the state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office reported 16 new COVID-19 cases. This included four children and 12 adults, all residents. Fourteen are considered community-acquired and two linked to Mainland travel.

“This indicates that for the first time, we have extensive and sustained community transmission on our island,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said Friday.

Children under 16 are ineligible to receive a vaccine, but cases among children are rising on island, despite no evidence that transmission is occurring within schools.

“Although scientific evidence shows that young children may not see as severe symptoms, we are still unclear as to the long-lasting effects in children,” Kawakami said. “This is also a reminder that children can still get sick and pass the virus on to others … This makes it even more important for adults who are around children to help protect them by getting vaccinated.”

Cases on island have steadily been increasing, forcing the temporary closings of restaurants, canceled sporting events and even a post office for cleaning.

“We have been working long and hard at this Kaua‘i,” Kawakami said. “Fourteen months in and we still lead the way in vaccine distribution, low hospitalizations, and the least fatalities. But now is the time to come together once again and smash this curve.”

Despite that, Department of Health data has Kaua‘i listed with the worst mask compliance in the state at 73%.

According to the DOH, for every 100,000 people that live on Kaua‘i, there was an average of 7.5 newly reported cases per day for seven days ending on April 28.

Friday, the county also urged adult residents, 16 and older, to receive a vaccine.

Appointments can be made at local clinics, pharmacies, hospitals and grocery stores. More information can be found at kauai.gov/vaccine.

“Vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing disease but they
provide a very high level of protection, and if you do become sick you are unlikely to become seriously ill,” Kawakami said. “Further, by getting vaccinated, we are helping those who cannot get vaccinated — including our kupuna, our keiki, and those with certain health conditions.”

The state has administered 1,202,060 doses, as of April 29. More than 60,000 of these were administered on Kaua‘i.

The county remains on its least-restrictive Tier 4, which allows nearly all businesses, activities and gatherings to continue with minimal restrictions, but that will likely shift.

When the county hits more than two cases in a rolling seven-day average for total new cases or a test-positive rate above 1%, there will be a shift to Tier 3, which shuts down both outdoor and indoor organized team sports and puts increased limits on gatherings.

As of Friday afternoon, the county had 55 active cases, none of which were hospitalized.

The county’s cumulative case total is 299 including 262 confirmed, 2 probable and 35 tested off-island but reported after arrival.
Source: The Garden Island

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