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Letters for Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Residents need to send message to visitors

I am a registered nurse from the mainland, and I visited Kaua‘i last week for a much-needed holiday from caring for COVID-19 patients. As much as I enjoyed my stay, I’m sad to say how disappointed I was at Kaua‘i residents‘ lack of mask wearing. Following are just a few examples from my week:

While on a hike, I encountered a group of four young people approaching me on the trail, none of whom were wearing masks. I asked them in a friendly way if they had masks, and they replied they did not. I gently suggested it might be a good idea, and one in the group replied, “but we live here!” Another day, on a river boat tour, there was a group of eight couples, of retirement age. From overhearing their extended conversation, I gleaned that they were residents of Kaua‘i, not part of the same family. They sat closely to one another, none wearing their masks properly. These are but two examples; I could offer more.

I understand that reopening the island to mainland visitors has caused considerable anxiety among residents. My impression is that we mainland visitors are all just so very grateful to be allowed back on the island that we want to do right by Hawaiians, and we don’t want to do anything that would mess this all up. I would respectfully suggest that Hawaiians take the same precautions they expect of mainlanders. If you are a resident, concerned about catching COVID-19 from mainland visitors, wear a mask. Wear it to protect yourself from the likes of me, a mainland RN who works with COVID-19 patients, here on holiday.

Elizabeth M. RN, San Francisco, California

It really is your call, mayor

To Mayor Kawakami,

What will it take to demand the permission from Gov. Ige to require a post-test for all incoming travelers? Under the present, voluntary, post-test situation, it is only a matter of time before Kaua‘i’s active COVID-19 case count accelerates to unmanageable levels.

It is inevitable, with the accelerating levels on the mainland and new active cases sneaking through from incoming travelers, with no required post-test. At what active case levels will it take before you take action? Your heart is in the right place on this, but you must now face reality and take action.

A required post-test is the only way to protect all of us on Kaua‘i. The cost will be far less than what it will be with an overloaded health-care system on Kaua‘i. Look at what is happening with overloaded health-care systems in many states on the mainland.

We now have the opportunity to protect ourselves from this pattern, or to hope against hope that we will not be invaded by accelerating active cases of COVID-19. Please take action before it is too late.

William Hackett, Kalaheo
Source: The Garden Island

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