On Leadership, COVID, and Thanksgiving
Mahalo Councilmembers Mason Chock and Luke Evslin for introducing Resolution 2020-57. Mahalo also Mayor Derek Kawakami for standing up and speaking out on behalf of the health of our community.
Resolution 2020-57, urges Governor David Y. Ige and Lieutenant Governor Josh Green to abandon the 1-test plan and utilize instead Mayor Derek Kawakami’s proposed 2-test plan requiring an enforced quarantine until that vital second test indicates a negative result.
The Resolution further states that should Governor Ige deny Mayor Kawakami’s request for a 2-test plan, the County of Kaua’i should completely opt-out of the State’s single pre-test requirement and return to the 14-day quarantine for all arrivals.
One particularly “Whereas” lays out the stark reality facing our community as a result of the existing situation:
“WHEREAS, the single pre-test plan has resulted in a more rapid rise in cases on Kaua’i in just the past 30 days than we have had since the pandemic began;”
On the Council agenda for Wednesday, November 25, Kauai residents are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org and let the full Council know your thoughts on Resolution 2020-57. The entire Resolution can be read at https://kauai.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=&event_id=887&meta_id=145246
I am hopeful and optimistic that, the full Kaua’i Council will be unanimous in its strong support of this bold statement. I am also hopeful that Kauai’s full legislative delegation including Kauai Senator and Senate President Ronald Kouchi will publicly support this effort as well.
Another unsung hero providing important leadership on this issue is Kauai State District Health Officer, Dr. Janet M. Berreman.
In a recent Honolulu Star-Advertiser column Dr. Berreman M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P. strongly advocates for a basic 14-day traveler quarantine requirement through until the end of the year or until “disease rates are stable or falling here and on the mainland.”
She states unequivocally: “No single test program, no matter the timing, can control COVID’s spread…Encouraging travel to and from the mainland ensures a steady stream of newly introduced virus. Infected travelers spread disease to their households, coworkers, traveling companions, and hospitality and health-care workers…”
Though the pandemic’s impacts leave none of us untouched, I’m thinking we should pause for a moment and offer a special thanks to Mayor Kawakami, Councilmember’s Mason Chock and Luke Evslin and Dr. Berreman. There are many others on their respective teams, working groups of citizens and experts who also have made important contributions in support, but these individuals at this particular point in time have chosen to do the heavy lifting that is required of leadership.
To be sure, there are others in our community whose economic pain has led them to a different conclusion, and who are desperate for the island to reopen to travelers. Too many are out of work, unable to pay their rent, and standing in line for food. These folks, who look at the situation through a lens of economic desperation, may not agree and in fact, may be distressed or even outraged at the conclusions reached and content of Resolution 2020-57.
Adding a requirement for a second test is a good middle ground. While it will not provide 100% certainty, it will greatly increase protection while still allowing travelers an open door to our island.
Such is the nature of leadership. You can be sure the concerns of all residents, from the business owner on the edge of bankruptcy to the kupuna and medically fragile, ALL weigh heavily on the minds and hearts of those Councilmember’s who will ultimately vote Yay or Nay on Resolution 2020-57.