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Kaua‘i falling behind in vaccination rates

LIHU‘E — On Monday, the Hawai‘i State Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office reported one COVID-19 related fatality of a Kaua‘i woman in her 60s who was hospitalized.

To date, the county has recorded 11 fatalities. This is the fourth COVID-19 related death in the month of September.

“My heart and sincerest condolences go out to the family, friends, and loved ones of this individual,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said in a statement. “If you have not already done so, please get vaccinated today and help protect our island.”

Kaua‘i, once leading the state in resident vaccination rate, is “falling behind,” officials said Monday.

Our unvaccinated residents continue to bear the greatest burden of COVID disease, hospitalizations, and deaths,” Kawakami said during the county’s COVID-19 briefing. “Kaua‘i is falling behind the rest of the state in our vaccine rate.”

Across the state, about 66% of Hawai‘i residents are fully vaccinated, with about 75% initiating vaccination. On Kaua‘i, only about 64% of residents are fully vaccinated and 69% have gotten one of two shots.

The county is seeing a “high level of community spread among residents,” Kawakami said.

Monday, the KDHO reported 22 new COVID-19 infections, all among residents, all attributed to community spread. Fourteen of the community-acquired cases are close contacts of previously announced cases or are tied to one of the county’s active clusters. The remaining eight community-acquired cases have no known source of infection, including three who have not provided contact tracers with information.

“Over the weekend, from Friday through Sunday, we reported a total of 90 cases, all Kaua‘i residents, and all but one case is community-acquired,” Lauren Guest of the KDHO said Monday.

Most cases have been linked to previously announced cases or an active cluster.

The KDHO is currently tracking clusters in an educational setting, three restaurants, one place of worship, one in the tourism industry, at Kaua‘i Community Correctional Facility and at one construction and industrial setting.

“This weekend there were over a dozen cases who refused to cooperate with our contact tracers, which limits our ability to slow the spread of this disease in our community,” Guest said.

Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said it’s “very frustrating when individuals refuse to cooperate with our efforts to slow the spread of this disease.”

“Or worse, when people go out and about when they know they’re infected,” Berreman said. “They are putting our community at risk.”

Berreman urged those who know of quarantine violations to contact the Kaua‘i Police Department.

“The more people who get vaccinated, the fewer people there will be in isolation and quarantine, and the less this will be an issue,” Berreman said.”If you’re a close contact of an infected person and you are NOT vaccinated, you will be directed by the Department of Health to quarantine. But if you’re vaccinated, you can still go to work and school, without quarantining, unless you develop symptoms.”

Monday’s cases included six children and 16 adults. This brings the county’s active case count to 242, with three hospitalized, and 2,117 cumulative cases.
Source: The Garden Island

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