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More clusters identified, more deaths predicted

LIHU‘E — The state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office reported Kaua‘i’s sixth fatality from COVID-19 and announced 41 new cases on Friday.

The fatality was a male Kaua‘i resident in his 50s who was hospitalized.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of this individual,” said Mayor Derek Kawakami. “I am urging everyone to come together, shift our behavior and work together to prevent more pain in our community.”

“So far this month, our island has had four fatalities from COVID, compared with only two in the previous 16 months,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, Kaua‘i district health officer.

“The rise in cases will be followed by rising hospitalization rates and, unfortunately, more deaths,” she said. “We must all act now if we are going to stem this surge of disease. We must avoid travel unless necessary, avoid gathering in large groups, wear our masks, stay home if we’re sick and get tested and get vaccinated. There is no guarantee that these actions will be enough, but they are our best hope short of a shutdown,” she said.

Friday’s cases are three visitors and 38 residents. Of the 41 new cases, 10 are children and 31 are adults. Three of the cases are related to travel, one mainland and two interisland. The remaining 38 cases are considered community-acquired. Twenty-two of the community-acquired infections are close contacts of previously announced cases or are tied to an active cluster. The remaining 16 community-acquired cases have no known source of infection, including four cases whom investigators have been unable to reach after repeated attempts or who have refused to provide information.

The DOH has identified at least one new social-gathering cluster, one new shelter cluster, and one new occupational cluster in a construction/industrial company.

All active cases are in isolation, and close contacts are being identified, offered testing and directed to quarantine. Investigations are ongoing.

Friday’s cases bring the number of active cases to 250, with five hospitalized, and 1,273 cumulative cases.

Daily case counts continue to rise rapidly, despite the DOH’s efforts to perform comprehensive case investigation and contact tracing.

Vaccines are free and widely available. For details on the vaccination sites, visit kauai.gov/vaccine.

Free testing with same-day results is available at many sites, including medical clinics and hospitals, and at other sites from Kekaha to Hanalei on various days of the week. For more details, visit kauai.gov/covidtest.

For more information on the county’s COVID-19 response, visit kauai.gov/COVID-19.
Source: The Garden Island

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