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Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami today announced the percentage of residents and visitors who have taken voluntary post-travel tests for COVID-19, and urged more travelers to participate.

For arrivals between Oct. 15 to 26, about 20% of eligible returning Kaua‘i residents took a post-travel test, while only 2% of visitors participated.


To qualify for a post-travel test, out-of-state travelers must have participated in the state’s pre-travel testing program and received a quarantine exemption from Safe Travels, and have arrived on Kaua‘i 72 hours or more prior to post-travel testing.


“We urge all incoming mainland travelers – both residents and visitors – to take a post-travel test no sooner than 72 hours after arrival,” said Mayor Kawakami. “The ideal timeline to test is five to seven days after arrival, but we understand many visitors won’t be on island that long. In those cases, a post-travel test three days after arriving is preferred.”


“Our recent cases on Kaua‘i have all been related to out-of-state travel,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, Kaua‘i District Health Officer with the state Department of Health. “We are seeing cases in people who have had negative pre-travel and post-travel tests, and later began to feel sick. The incubation period for COVID-19 is up to 14 days. That means that from the day you are exposed to someone with COVID-19, it can take up for 14 days for you to feel sick or to have a positive test result if you are tested.”

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Post-arrival test participants receive their results the same day.


“Please get that second test,” said Dr. Berreman. “It helps protect you, and helps protect our community and our island, for those who live here and those who enjoy visiting.”


Arriving quarantine-exempt passengers on Kaua‘i receive a flyer about post-travel testing times and locations. Hotel partners are providing the information to guests, and the county is running print, radio, and online public service announcements for residents.

County of Kaua'i News Release:

The Kaua‘i District Health Office reports a new positive case of COVID-19 on Thursday.


Kaua‘i’s newest case is an adult male resident who recently returned home from travel. The man did participate in the state’s pre-travel testing program with a negative test result, but a post-travel test ordered by his provider came back positive.

The case is in isolation at home.


The Department of Health's contact tracing investigation has identified several close contacts, all of whom are in quarantine and will be offered a test.


Additionally, the Department of Health reported a COVID case earlier this week which involved a female resident who works for the Department of Education. Upon further investigation and subsequent testing of this individual, the Department of Health has determined that this case was a false positive. This individual is no longer considered an active case and all close contacts of that individual have been released from quarantine.

“There are varying sensitivities of COVID tests, but even the best tests are not 100% accurate,” said Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman. “This is why our case investigation is critically important. We determine a patient’s medical information, exposure and travel history to get a comprehensive assessment. In this case, the test results did not match the assessment. The individual was re-tested twice, using a PCR test on a nasopharyngeal swab, which is considered the ‘gold standard’ of tests. Both results returned negative and we are confident that her initial test was a false positive and she did not have COVID-19.”


Kaua‘i’s current status as of Thursday morning is three active cases involving two residents and one visitor. All cases are travel related. The DOH has identified 11 close contacts of these cases who are now in quarantine. Kaua‘i’s cumulative case count is 63 and one probable case.


Post-travel testing is available to both residents and visitors who traveled to Kaua‘i from the mainland and participated in the state's Safe Travel Program. Testing is available no sooner than 72 hours after arrival and up to 14 days, but the preferable time is five to seven days after arrival for best results. Many travelers are not on island that long and in those cases, a test three days after arrival is encouraged.


“Kaua‘i’s recent cases remind us that this is a complicated disease and there is still a lot we don’t know,” said Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami. “What we do know is that the best way to avoid getting infected is to wear our mask, keep our distance from others, wash our hands, and avoid large gatherings. If you must travel, please consider a full 14-day quarantine upon your return home. If that’s not possible, take a pre- and post-travel test.”


For more information on the post-travel testing program, visit www.kauai.gov/COVID-19. For more information on the state’s COVID-19 cases or the state's Safe Travels program, visit www.hawaiicovid19.com


SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON COVID-19 VISITS HAWAIʽI CONVENTION CENTER TO ASSESS PROGRESS OF CONTACT TRACING AND UNEMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS


On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, the Hawai’i Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 performed a site visit to the Hawaii Convention Center to assess the latest contact tracing efforts from the Department of Health's Disease Investigation Branch and Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

Members of the Committee received an in-depth briefing from the agencies regarding their progress in rebuilding the Department of Health's contact tracing program. Dr. Emily Roberson, who has been heading the branch since July, highlighted the critical components of their restructuring of the program and how the branch's approaches have changed since the Committee's last visit to the Convention Center.

Dr. Roberson noted that the re-alignment has allowed the branch to achieve its initial goal of performing its first outreach call on 100% of new cases within 24-hrs. However, the program is still hindered by cases of inaccurate or missing contact information and individuals who do not answer their phones. Dr. Roberson added that the restructuring has also allowed for more significant data collection and regional trend identification, which has added significantly to the effectiveness of their program. This has also contributed to their ability to better identify high-risk populations so that these cases can be expedited to mitigate the additional risk.

Finally, the department has emphasized building up the program's capacity within individual ethnic communities through the enlistment of translators and the hiring of individual community leaders, identified by the respective communities themselves. According to Dr. Roberson, these efforts have shown to have had a remarkable impact on the program's effectiveness. The Committee asked that certain indicators be included in the Department of Health's informational dashboard so that the program's effectiveness could be continuously monitored by the public.

Following the Contact Tracing update, members attended a briefing presented by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations' Unemployment Insurance Division (UI). They received a report of the division's latest efforts and plans to ensure the financial stability of local residents in the coming months. During the visit, Director Anne E. Perreira-Eustaquio guided the Senators through a tour of their current operations.

The members of the Committee spoke at length with the Director about UI's continued focus on the adjudication of pending claims, which represents the vast majority of the remaining outstanding cases. The Director highlighted the efforts of DLIR staff and the countless volunteers that have donated their time and legal backgrounds towards this cause.

In addition, Director Perreira-Eustaquio presented the department's newest efforts to roll out the Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits program, which launched on October 27, 2020. This program would extend benefits after an unemployed individual exhausts their twenty-six weeks of state unemployment and thirteen weeks of federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation allotments.

In response to questions from the Committee, Director Perreira-Eustaquio provided an overview of the department's continued efforts to identify fraudulent claims. During the discussion, a DLIR employee mentioned that it felt like nearly half of all new unemployment claims appeared to be fraudulent. The Director reassured the Senators that appropriate measures were being taken to detect the fraudulent claims and turn them over to the appropriate authorities.

"We really want to thank everyone still working on unemployment for their hard work," added Senator Fevella. "If you have a claim in and are still waiting to get paid, please answer your phones. These guys are working seven days a week, even on Sundays, trying to get these checks out to you guys."

"We’re very pleased with the progress made in increasing the number of contact tracers, as well as with UI's continued efforts in processing unemployment claims." Stated the Committee's Chair, Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz. He added, "I am concerned, though, about how these operations are going to continue when CARES Act funds end in December."

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