HONOLULU (KHON2) — Kauai health officials confirmed the COVID-19 variant B1.429, also known as the “California variant,” infected four members of a household.

The Kauai District Health Office made the announcement on Wednesday, April 21, and says the household cluster is related to inter-island travel.

On the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

Health officials say the variant was discovered when seven members of a household tested positive after two family members went on an inter-island trip. One official says it is not surprising the variant was found due to inter-island travel.

“The B1.429 variant is the dominant form of COVID-19 circulating on Oahu and in Maui County, so it is not surprising that this variant was found related to inter-island travel, It is also the dominant strain now in California, which poses a risk for additional introduction to Kaua‘i as travel restrictions are loosened. The B 1.429 variant is of concern because it is more easily transmissible from person to person and therefore poses an increased risk of community spread.” 

Janet Berreman, Kauai District Health Officer

Samples from several of the seven positive cases were gnomically sequenced and all four samples were confirmed to be the B1.429 variant.

All seven confirmed cases were placed in a health-directed 10-day isolation. Close contacts outside of the family were fully vaccinated, according to officials.

“As residents travel more—both to the mainland and inter-island—and as we welcome more visitors to our island, it is especially important that we all continue to take precautions,” Dr Berreman said. “The strongest step we can take is to be vaccinated. I encourage all residents 16 years of age and older to make an appointment now, if they have not already been vaccinated.  And mahalo to those who have been vaccinated.”