Nearly 200 inmates at Hawaii Community Correctional Center have so far tested positive for COVID-19 in an ongoing outbreak that began last month.
The state Department of Public Safety on Friday announced that 40 of 70 new inmate test results received
as part of the mass testing effort underway at the Hilo jail were positive, and 30 were negative.
As of Friday, 199 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus at HCCC, but DPS spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said one case was reported “early on before the outbreak.”
A total of 198 inmates have tested positive for the virus since two positive cases were first reported at the Hilo jail on May 24.
Of those, 119 cases were active as of Friday.
There were 344 inmates at HCCC as of June 7, although operational capacity is 226.
One additional staff member also has tested positive for COVID-19, according to DPS, bringing the number of active staff cases to seven.
Two staff members have been hospitalized.
Schwartz said DPS facilities follow a pandemic plan based on state and federal guidelines for correctional facilities to medically isolate, quarantine and cohort inmates to the best of their ability.
The 76-page plan can be found online at bit.ly/DPSpandemicresponse.
No other clusters have been under investigation on the Big Island in the last 14 days, according to the state Department of Health’s weekly cluster report, which was issued Thursday.
According to DPS, COVID-19 testing is continuously being conducted at all facilities statewide and the department continues to encourage all staff and inmates to voluntarily get tested and receive a COVID vaccine.
“(DPS) has been working closely with DOH and the District Health Offices on each island to coordinate and provide opportunities for inmates to receive the vaccine on a voluntary basis,” Schwartz said. “The vaccine has been offered several times at HCCC.”
Schwartz said earlier in the week that DPS is looking into the option of temporarily transferring some HCCC inmates to another facility that has adequate space to accommodate them, which would help alleviate the strain overcrowding has placed on the jail.
As of Friday, however, she said that no inmates have been relocated to other facilities.
Email Stephanie Salmons at email@example.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald