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Hawai‘i inmate dies of COVID-19 in Arizona

HONOLULU — A male Saguaro Correctional Center inmate, who was 60 to 69 years old with underlying medical conditions, died last week at an Arizona hospital.

He was admitted last month for an undisclosed medical condition. This is the first death of a Hawai‘i inmate identified in medical examiner’s reports as a COVID-19-related death. No additional information is being provided to protect individual medical privacy.

“We have been in contact with his family and let them know that our heartfelt condolences and thoughts are with them during this difficult time,” said Tommy Johnson, state Department of Public Safety Corections Division deputy director. “We will be bringing him home to Hawai‘i for his family.”

Mass testing of all Hawai‘i inmates at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona, was completed late last month. The 662 inmates with first-round negative test results are undergoing re-testing as part of surge-testing efforts at the facility.

Regarding the Hawai‘i inmates at the facility, a total of 131 of the 138 active positive cases were expected to be cleared from quarantine last week. That would leave three positive inmates in medical isolation and four in the hospital. The negative inmates remain in precautionary quarantine. There are currently 1,079 inmates housed at Saguaro.

“We take the health and safety of all those who are in our contracted prison, as well as those who live and work in our state facilities, very seriously,” said Fred Hyun, acting DPS director. That is why DPS is conducting surge testing at all facilities statewide and asked Saguaro to do the same,” he sid.

On top of the monitoring and testing, the Saguaro staff assured DPS that the facility will continue to implement stringent sanitation and hygiene measures to limit potential exposure and mitigate the spread of coronavirus to inmates and staff.

For more information on Saguaro Correctional Center operations and CoreCivic’s COVID-19 procedure, see corecivic.com/en/corecivic-statement-on-covid-19-preventio.n

For more information on DPS’ planning and response to COVID-19, inmate testing data and information detailing the efforts made to safeguard inmates, staff and public, see dps.hawaii.gov/blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-resources/.

The DPS has also established an information hotline with recorded updates on the Saguaro testing, 808-587-1421.
Source: The Garden Island

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