Kauai seeks traveler quarantine regardless of virus tests
By AUDREY McAVOY
The Associated Press
HONOLULU — The mayor of Kauai County said Tuesday he wants to reinstate a requirement that all travelers arriving in his jurisdiction quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they have obtained a negative COVID-19 test.
Mayor Derek Kawakami said his county must take action to prevent the further spread of the disease.
Kauai had no cases of community spread of the coronavirus for several months starting in July. But it’s had six cases of community spread since Oct. 15, when the state began allowing travelers to bypass a 14-day quarantine requirement if they tested negative for the disease 72 hours before arriving.
These six community spread cases have no known link to a traveler.
Altogether, Kauai detected 58 new cases since Oct. 15. Most — 48 — were in travelers, including 27 visitors and 21 tourists, said Kauai District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman. She said most tested negative for COVID-19 before departing for Kauai but then showed signs of the disease after they arrived.
“It is clear that the Safe Travels program is not adequately protecting Kauai from an alarming rise in cases,” Berreman said in a statement.
Kawakami asked Gov. David Ige for permission to temporarily opt-out of the pre-travel testing program and instead allow Kauai to impose a two-week quarantine on arriving travelers.
Ige has not indicated whether he will approve the request. The governor didn’t approve an earlier Kawakami request to require arriving passengers to take another COVID-19 test after 72 hours on the island.