LIHU‘E — A steady decline in COVID-19 cases and a loosening of pandemic-related mitigation rules has offered a sigh of relief for many.
“Kaua‘i’s average case count over the past seven days is now down to 15 cases a day,” state Department of Health Kaua‘i Deputy District Health Officer Lauren Guest said Monday. “That’s about half what the average case count was two weeks ago.”
Monday, the DOH Kaua‘i District Health Office reported eight new cases of COVID-19.
The county has 34 active cases, with three hospitalized. To date, the county has recorded 11,969 cumulative cases, including 27 COVID-19 related fatalities.
Last week, Mayor Derek Kawakami lifted the final COVID-19-related rule that restricted social-gathering sizes and limits on restaurants and gyms. Statewide, rules including indoor mask mandates and the Safe Travels program are still in place until at least March 25 as officials monitor case counts and trends.
“Kaua‘i’s (number of cases per 100,000) rate, on a population basis, is still almost twice the state rate — but we’re trending downward, so we’re on a good path,” KDHO Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said.
On Monday, the county’s rate was 17 cases/100,000, while the state is about 10.7/100,000, Berreman said.
“We should enjoy the lower case rates and the security offered by vaccination and treatments,” Berreman said. “This is a good time to catch up with socializing and traveling — with common-sense precautions.”
Best practices, like masking in high-risk situations and testing following recent traveling or feeling sick, are still recommended.
“We don’t need to live in fear of another variant, but we should be prepared,” Berreman said. “That means remembering all we’ve learned in these last two years, and holding onto our tools and supplies.”
Staff at the KDHO are continuing contact tracing, but have faced a less-than-receptive response lately.
”If there’s no answer, we leave a voicemail and send a text message,” Berreman said. “We’ve noticed in recent weeks that fewer people are returning our calls. I’m not sure why that is, but people should know that our calls are to answer your questions, provide you with information and gather some information from you.”
According to the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency, the state’s test positivity rate is 2.3%. On Kaua‘i, it’s 4.5%.
The county’s free testing center at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihu‘e is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.
A mobile testing van will be at neighborhood centers from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Kekaha on Wednesdays, Kilauea on Thursdays, Kalaheo on Fridays, Hanalei on Saturday and the Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex on Sundays.
On Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m., there will be a mobile vaccine clinic open at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center for those 12 and older. No appointments are needed. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Sabrina Bodon, editor, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island