The Hawai‘i State Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office reported a fatality and 51 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, Dec. 23.
The fatality was a female resident in her 90s who was hospitalized. Total Kaua‘i COVID fatalities to date are 16, including 14 residents and two visitors.
“My heart goes out to the family and friends of this person,” said Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami. “We need to do our part this holiday season to prevent the spread of disease and unnecessary tragedies by avoiding large gatherings, wearing masks indoors in public, and getting vaccinated or boosted if you haven’t done so already.”
Today’s cases consist of five visitors and 46 residents. Of the 51 new cases, 10 are children and 41 are adults. Twenty-nine of the cases are related to travel – 16 mainland and 13 interisland. The remaining 21 cases are considered community-acquired. Sixteen of the community-acquired infections are close contacts of a previously announced case or are tied to an active cluster. The remaining five cases have no known source of infection, including two whom investigators have been unable to reach after repeated attempts or who have refused to provide information. One of today’s cases did not receive their positive test result until after their arrival on Kaua‘i.
“COVID case counts are rising rapidly and are expected to continue to increase. We can assume that the Omicron variant is in our community,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, Kaua‘i District Health Officer. “If you develop symptoms or test positive, isolate in your home immediately, stay away from household members, and do not go out unless you are testing or seeking healthcare.”
Today’s cases bring the number of active cases to 157, with three hospitalized, and 3,541 cumulative cases. Kaua‘i’s cumulative case count includes 3,475 confirmed locally, eight probable, and 58 positive cases diagnosed elsewhere, as they received their pre-travel test results after arriving on island.
DOH contact tracing and more info:
Cases are rapidly rising on Kaua‘i, likely due to the Omicron variant, and cases are expected to continue to rise. The Department of Health case investigators and contact tracers call all new cases, generally within a day or two of a positive test.
If you test positive for COVID, there is no need to wait to hear from the Department of Health before taking the following actions:
· Isolate yourself at home,
· Stay in a separate room and ask others to bring you meals,
· Do not socialize with your family,
· Wear your mask when you leave your room,
· Let those you’ve been in contact with know that they’ve been exposed,
· Your close contacts should quarantine and plan to be tested,
· If you require medical care, please call your healthcare provider and let them know you tested positive.
· If you need urgent medical care, call 911 and let dispatchers know that you are positive.
If you have symptoms, are feeling sick, you should isolate yourself immediately, stay away from household members, and not go out – including to work, school, and holiday celebrations or services – unless you are seeking testing or getting health care. Those who have been vaccinated should still be tested if they believe they may have been exposed or if they feel sick.
In observance of the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays, staffing will be reduced at the Kaua‘i District Health Office during those holiday weekends.
Most reported cases are in residents who were infected in the community. Everyone, vaccinated or not, must follow Hawai‘i’s indoor mask requirements and gathering size limits. In addition, if you plan to travel, please be vaccinated before you go, and get tested three to five days after you return to Kaua‘i. If you plan a trip, please be vaccinated before you go. And whether or not you are vaccinated, follow Hawai‘i’s prudent rules and wear a mask in crowded indoor settings.
Vaccination remains the most important action each of us can take to slow and prevent the spread of disease in our community. Vaccinations are available to anyone 5 years of age or older and are free, safe, and effective.
Many vaccination sites accept walk-ins. Residents aged 18 and older are eligible for any vaccine available at pharmacy, hospital, and clinic locations. The Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for use in those 5 years of age and older, and is currently available at Wilcox Medical Center, Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital (KVMH), and Kaiser Permanente Līhu‘e Clinic.
The pop-up clinic and hospital van are open to everyone 12 and older. For details on the vaccination sites, visit http://www.kauai.gov/vaccine.
If you traveled off-island, get tested three to five days after you return home.
In observance of the Christmas Day holiday, the Kaua‘i War Memorial Conventional Hall testing center will be closed on Dec. 24. Mobile testing will be closed on Dec. 24 at the Kalāheo Neighborhood Center and Dec. 25. at the Hanalei Neighborhood Center.
The Convention Hall’s testing center’s normal operations and free testing is available weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If there is a wait, you will receive a ticket with a time to return for your test. Arrive anytime the clinic is open to receive a timed ticket; no need to arrive early.
Additionally, a free mobile testing van is normally available for walk-ins from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center on Wednesdays, Kīlauea Neighborhood Center on Thursdays, Kalāheo Neighborhood Center on Fridays, Hanalei Neighborhood Center on Saturdays, and the Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex in Kapa‘a on Sundays.
Testing performed at the Convention Hall and through the mobile testing van is rapid PCR. Same-day results are sent via email.
Free drive-thru testing is also available daily at Līhu‘e Pharmacy Group, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are required. For an appointment, register online at PreventCOVIDHI.com or call (808) 635-4968.
Testing is also available through your primary care physician, a hospital, or an urgent care clinic. Please contact those providers directly for more information. For more details, visit https://www.kauai.gov/covidtest.
For more information on the county’s COVID-19 response, visit www.kauai.gov/COVID-19.