Kauai visitor tests COVID-positive after testing negative for pre and post-travel tests

Coronavirus

LIHUE, Hawaii (KHON2) — The positivity rate for the state in the last seven days is now down to 2%.

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The lieutenant governor said that it is a great improvement but one particular COVID case on Kauai serves as a reminder to wear a face covering. Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said that notwithstanding the spike on the Big Island and Lanai, the state is seeing an improvement.

But that does not mean our guard should be let down.

“So people are doing their part, they’re wearing masks at a better rate closer to 85% in most areas, 78% on the neighbor islands where the spread is occurring,” said Lt. Gov. Green.

KHON2 asked, “When can we see the numbers that reflect travelers coming in since mid-October?”

Lt. Gov. Green said they have tested about 8,838 people after arrival and only five have been positive.

“So that’s far lower than our base rate here in Hawaii. But as people go back to work, which is a great thing, you know, there’ll be more close contact, and as long as people wearing masks, there won’t be a bump, but we just have to wait and see if it’s successful enough,” he explained.

One recent active case on Kauai may be a good example of why everyone should mask up at all times.

A woman from the mainland tested positive for COVID-19 even though she tested negative before and after she arrived.

We are told that the pre-travel testing program helps, but it does not catch every infected person.

“That’s why several of the counties, including Kauai, are making various efforts to have people have a second test a few days after they’ve come here. And what this case illustrates is the limitations even of that approach,” said Kauai District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman.

Dr. Berreman told KHON2 that this is not unexpected because you can test positive anytime up to 14 days after exposure. She said that you are most likely to test positive six to eight days after you were exposed. But Kauai offers post-arrival tests no sooner than 72 hours after because some visitors don’t stay on vacation for a week.

“So that’s where the three-day decision came from. It’s really–it’s a compromise–it’s much better than nothing, but it’s not 100%,” said Dr. Berreman.

KHON2 was told that it’s mostly likely that the visitor was exposed to the virus before coming to the state.

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