Kauai News

Cluster of COVID-19 Cases Identified on Kaua‘i

Posted June 20, 2020, 12:06 PM HST ·Updated June 20, 12:50 PM

Seven additional positive COVID-19 cases have been identified on Kaua‘i as a result of contact tracing of an initial case reported Thursday.

According to Hawai‘i Department of Health, the new cases are household members of the individual who was recently diagnosed with the coronavirus. The new cases were already placed in quarantine when they were tested Friday. Kaua‘i District Health Office is continuing their contact tracing of the household cluster this weekend and identification of additional contacts and testing is ongoing.

“All of the people in the household cluster on Kaua‘i were isolated or quarantined promptly, said Janet Berreman, Kaua‘i District Health Officer. “The decision to isolate or quarantine at home or in a facility is made jointly with the cases and contacts and the Department of Health. The option chosen is the one that works best for all. Household contacts were tested yesterday, and their results reported today. Testing of additional contacts will begin this weekend.”

Kaua‘i had no cases for ten weeks and this raises the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases on the island to 29, since March. There are six new cases on O‘ahu and one on Maui for a total of 14 new cases confirmed in the past 24 hours, and a statewide case total of 803.

“We expected COVID-19 would return to our island, so this is not a surprise,” stated Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami. “However, the large number of contacts identified by the investigation is concerning, and it reinforces our need to take measures to protect ourselves and those around us.”

DOH Director Bruce Anderson said the department has investigated every case with positive test results and identified several household clusters over the last few days. The identification of these clusters and subsequent investigations, he added, resulted in the isolation and quarantine of cases and close contacts.

“These clusters reinforce the importance of maintaining safe practices, especially wearing masks and physically distancing when meeting with people outside your immediate ‘ohana,” he added. “One of the new cases reported on O‘ahu was associated with a previously confirmed case, where both people had attended a house party.”

Health experts believe much of the spike in COVID-19 cases reported over the past few days is due to Hawai‘i residents relaxing safe practices, such as physical distancing, wearing of face masks and frequent hand washing.

“It’s important to maintain physical distancing from those who don’t live in your household, but as this and other clusters demonstrate, coronavirus can be spread among people in the same household,” said State Epidemiologist Sarah Park. “We strongly urge people to take care and physically distance, no matter the setting…indoors or out, or at least wear a mask when around others outside your household.”