Large COVID Cluster Identified Among Churchgoers Prompts DOH Guidance
A COVID-19 cluster identified earlier this week among a church congregation in Nawiliwili has grown from 16 cases to 36, health officials reported this morning.
COVID cases associated with King’s Chapel were identified as a cluster on Nov. 8, with cases dating back at least as far as Oct. 31, according to a press release from the Hawaiʻi Department of Health. Individuals from under 2 years old to over 60 have come down with the virus.
DOH states the spread indicates transmission beyond the immediate King’s Chapel community, noting those infected include four secondary cases in household contacts. More cases are expected to be identified as the investigation and testing continue.
“DOH discloses cluster locations when there is an imminent risk to public health. Based on the findings of our investigation, we believe disclosure is warranted to prevent further transmission of the disease,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble.
The number of vaccinated individuals among the new cases was not reported at this time.
King’s Chapel Nawiliwili hosted a Trunk-or-Treat event on Oct. 31 for Halloween. DOH asks anyone who attended this event — especially anyone who was un-masked or who interacted for 15 minutes or more with others — to get tested.
Anyone who feels ill should be tested, DOH stated. Anyone who attended a King’s Chapel function on or after Oct. 31 or believes they may have been exposed should also get tested.
Click here for information on where to get tested.
King’s Chapel congregants are encouraged to participate in virtual services and avoid in-person church activities until the cluster is contained.
DOH has worked with affected individuals, families and with church representatives to recommend containment measures including isolation, quarantine, switching to virtual services and other prevention measures.
Those who suspect they might be infected should closely monitor themselves for symptoms including fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat or loss of taste or smell. If symptoms develop, they are advised to self-quarantine and seek medical consultation.
Kaua‘i case counts are the highest per capita in the state and have risen over the last two weeks.
“It is critically important people wear masks indoors, maintain physical distance, avoid crowds and wash hands regularly,” DOH states. “Anyone who feels sick or believes they are coming down with a cold should not go to work or school.”
Kaua‘i DOH staff will work with anyone who tests positive to minimize their risk of exposing others. DOH will assist with accessing care, including monoclonal antibody treatment to decrease severity of illness.
DOH encourages everyone 5 years of age and older who is not yet vaccinated to consider getting vaccinated before the holidays.