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Jails to conduct testing; Kaua‘i staff negative

HONOLULU — The Hawai‘i Department of Public Safety (PSD) Health Care Division is working with the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) to conduct mass testing for COVID-19 at all correctional facilities statewide. The broad-based testing at the neighbor island jails is beginning with the staff.

The Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center staff were tested by the DOH Kauai District Office. All 53 staff test results were negative.

“The jail staff are being tested first so we can make sure they are cleared and ready to assist when it’s time to begin inmate testing in the neighbor island jail facilities,” Deputy Director for Administration/Acting Director Maria Cook said. “Transient, pre-trial jail populations are very different from sentenced prison populations. The overcrowded conditions combined with the constant intake and release in the jail system present a unique set of challenges and requires thorough staffing, operational and logistical planning between DOH, PSD and the jail facilities before inmate testing can begin.”

The order of the facilities next in line for inmate testing is being worked out. The Halawa Correctional Facility (HCF) is also undergoing staff testing this week with the help of the Hawai‘i National Guard.

“Many agencies are coming together to help us with our statewide staff testing. We couldn’t do this without the Hawai‘i National Guard, the DOH neighbor island district offices, and community partners such as Waimanalo Health Center and Project Vision Hawai‘i,” Cook said.

PSD and the DOH are continuing mass testing of OCCC inmates to mitigate virus spread in the incarcerated population.

The one OCCC inmate test result received today was negative. There are currently no inmates hospitalized. The total number of inmates who have recovered increased to 307. There was one new positive OCCC staff test result reported today. Total PSD staff recoveries increased to 83.
Source: The Garden Island

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