Kauai coronavirus cases drop to single digits, testing also dropping


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Kauai is starting to see COVID-19 cases drop.

The island reported one new COVID-19 case on Thursday, May 6, after reporting double-digit numbers during the week of Monday, April 26.

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Kauai went from zero cases and the lowest positivity rate in Hawaii to 91 cases from Sunday, April 5, through Sunday, May 2, and the highest positivity rate.

Kauai District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman says Thursday’s lower numbers are encouraging.

“Things are a little bit better now, but it’s certainly much too early for us to say this is contained and not be concerned because we still know that we have a couple of large clusters, we have some large events where we know there were people who were infectious and we could still see cases coming out from that,” she explained.

The health department says the two large events were attended by people during their infectious period.

As of Thursday, 32 cases have been tied to a bar and restaurant which each had over 10 positive cases among customers and staff and spread to household members.

Dr. Berreman says about 30% of the Garden Isle’s cases in March were children under 18 years old.

She says children did not spread COVID-19 to their classmates or other students on the bus.

“We actually identified about 100 people who were close contacts of those cases, and we didn’t just say everybody who goes to the same school, this was really looking at people who met the definition of close contacts, and those close contacts were all quarantined, were tested, were followed through their quarantine period, and we have not seen any transmission from in a school setting or in a school bus setting,” said Dr. Berreman.

“Those were the two settings that we were most concerned about, so that really tells us that with the precautions that schools have in place, attending in-person learning, which there’s a lot of on Kauai because we’ve been relatively had low levels of disease, that in-person learning is a low-risk environment for students and staff. We’ve not seen transmission there, and we don’t see any reason to make any change in that,” she added.

COVID-19 testing has dropped over the past few days. 400 residents were going to the community free testing clinics over the weekend and on Monday, then on Tuesday it dropped to about 250 people and on Wednesday it dropped to about 200 people. The County says they still have the capacity to test 400 people per day.

“I think the very high level of concern has come down and of course, doing lots of testing like that we’re not seeing huge numbers of positive, so that’s encouraging,” Dr. Berreman said. “Also, I know it was in the news the other day that we tested about 200 people at the correctional facility, and all of those tests were negative, which was wonderful.”

Dr. Berreman says there are no plans to implement any travel restrictions on Kauai anytime soon.

“I don’t think that we are looking at tightening down or putting more restrictions on travel in the foreseeable future,” she said.

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