More Kauai residents getting COVID-19 tested amid case surge


LIHUE, Hawaii (KHON2) — Kauai has a total of 55 known active COVID-19 cases. County officials said this is a concerning number for a county with a population of more than 70,000.

After months of reporting little to no new daily COVID-19 cases, the virus is now spreading on the Garden Isle.

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Mayor Derek Kawakami said the cases are associated with community spread, including at least four breakthrough cases.

“We had four fully vaccinated individuals that tested positive,” Kawakami said. “Two of those cases, they were, they had no symptoms at all. they just went in to get tested for whatever reason.”  

The other two are displaying mild symptoms.

About 50% of the county’s population are already fully vaccinated, giving the mayor some confidence despite the increasing number of cases.

“We focused all of our energy into getting as much vaccines out as possible,” Kawakami said. “We have vaccinated a large part of our community that is in that elderly demographic as well as many people that have underlying health conditions. And so, you know, the result is we have not yet seen any hospitalizations.” 

But there is room for improvement in other areas.

State data shows Kauai ranks last for mask usage with a trend on decline.

The last time state volunteers observed mark wearing on the Garden Isle was April 4 with 73% of folks wearing a face covering.

Kawakami said, “Our mask compliance has been concerning. We are the lowest in the state. And I think it’s a reaction to the fact that Kauai has been very safe for all of these months.”

He said more restrictions may be needed, but discussions are still ongoing.

The county will be offering free COVID-19 testing Saturday on a first come, first served basis at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a capacity of 350 tests per day.

The county opened the testing site on Saturday due to high demand from restaurants interested in getting a COVID-19 test.

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