The Kaua‘i County mayor continues to urge residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccine following an uptick in cases over the past two days.
“…We are seeing a concerning spike in cases this week, mostly among those unvaccinated,” said Mayor Derek SK Kawakami during a COVID-19 update Facebook video posted Thursday, July 1.
On June 30, 11 COVID cases were reported and on July 1 seven were confirmed. Kawakami said five of the seven new cases on Thursday are considered community-acquired. One case is currently hospitalized.
Kaua‘i currently has 28 active cases with a cumulative total of 419.
Kawakami said health officials are also seeing that most of the island’s new cases are in those who are not vaccinated.
Fifty-eight percent of residents have been fully vaccinated statewide and 63% have been administered the first of two doses of the vaccine.
Lauren Guest, public health preparedness planner for the Kaua‘i District Health Office, also addressed the increase in cases in the video update.
The majority of these cases, Guest said, are not related to previously announced cases, which is highly concerning. At this point, health officials have not identified any new clusters but it is possible they will do so in the coming days.
“We don’t know yet whether this increase in community spread is related to the presence of the Delta variant on Kaua‘i, but there’s a good chance that it is,” Guest said. “We will know more as the Department of Health performs more genomic sequencing. That information is always delayed about two weeks.”
To date, two cases of the Delta variant have been detected on the Garden Isle.
In response to community demand for better access to testing, the DOH and the county will be offering free COVID-19 testing in the parking lot of Hanalei Elementary School on July 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Guest said statewide, only 2% of cases have been in vaccinated residents. The majority of these vaccine breakthrough cases have been asymptomatic or have experienced mild disease.
“It is true that vaccine does not protect 100% from all disease — but protection from severe disease, hospitalization, and death is much better than no protection at all,” Guest said.