Kauaʻi COVID update: another death, updated CDC guidlines

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LIHU‘E — As COVID cases continue to largely hold steady on island, the Center for Disease control has issued a more relaxed set of guidelines for dealing with the virus.

The guidance, according to Greta Massetti, who leads the Field Epidemiology and Prevention Branch at the CDC, “acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.”

The CDC now recommends that those exposed to the virus wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day five, instead of quarantining.

The agency has also de-emphasized 6 feet of social distancing to reduce the risk of exposure and recommends the use of contact tracing only in hospitals and certain high-risk environments.

They continue to recommend staying up to date on vaccines, testing when experiencing symptoms of the virus or after a close contact, and isolating from others for five days after testing positive for the virus.

“We’re in a stronger place today as a nation, with more tools—like vaccination, boosters, and treatments—to protect ourselves, and our communities, from severe illness from COVID-19,” said Massetti.

COVID-19 case counts saw a slight bump on island this week, from an average of 21 cases to 23 cases per day.

Statewide, the average is 452 cases a day, down from 528 the week before.

The county saw one additional COVID-19 death as a woman in her 80s passed away from the virus this week.

A new vaccine is now available on Kaua‘i.

The two-dose Novavax vaccine is accessible for individuals 18 or older who have not yet received a vaccine.

“Novavax is a protein-based vaccine, similar to vaccines used for hepatitis B, whooping cough, shingles, and other diseases,” said District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman. “These vaccines have been safely used in the United States for more than three decades.”

Kaiser Permanente in Lihu‘e is offering Novavax to members and non-members starting Aug. 15 by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling 808-432-2000.

The Department of Health advises everyone age six months and older to get vaccinated and, when eligible, boosted. The Novavax vaccine is not approved as a booster dose.

For a list of vaccination locations, visit kauai.gov/vaccine.

Kaua‘i’s vaccination rate has held steady for the last few weeks — with 73% having completed the primary series.

Free rapid PCR testing is still available Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the War Memorial Convention Hall at 4191 Hardy Street in Lihu‘e, through a partnership between the County of Kaua‘i and the Kaua‘i District Health Office.

A full list of test sites is available at kauai.gov/COVIDTest

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Author: Guthrie Scrimgeour

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