Mass Inmate Testing at 3 Hawaii Prisons Negative for COVID

September 27, 2020, 6:00 AM HST (Updated September 26, 2020, 8:19 PM)
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Mass inmate testing results for three Hawai‘i prisons are negative for COVID-19, officials announced Saturday.

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. So far, inmates at Halawa Correctional Facility (HCF) and Waiawa Correctional Facility (WCF) on O‘ahu and Kulani Correctional Facility (KCF) in Hilo have all tested negative for the virus.

“Facility staff did an amazing job coordinating the inmate testing,” stated HCF Warden Scott Harrington. “The combined presence of mental health and security staff in the housing units helped to calm inmates who were anxious, stressed or confused by the activity. This allowed the nurses to get samples quickly and complete testing faster than anticipated. The facility staff and inmates really appreciated their efforts. HCF staff have worked diligently from day one to prevent and minimize the spread of COVID inside our facility.”

The results at the three prisons is a huge accomplishment, said Maria Cook, Deputy Director for Administration/Acting Director, adding the staff are excuting their pandemic plans daily.

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“Everyone from the wardens and their security staff to the medical, mental health, and civilian staff are to be commended for a job well done,” Cook said. “We know this battle to keep coronavirus out is a daily one, and I am confident they will continue to make every effort to maintain the safety security and health of the inmates as well as their co-workers.”

The order of the facilities next in line for testing is being worked out. PSD is also working with DOH and the Hawai‘i National Guard to coordinate the testing of correctional officers and staff.

The outbreak at the O‘ahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) is under control. There were no new positive results for inmates. There are currently no inmates hospitalized. Over 96% of all inmates who tested positive have recovered. There was 1 new positive staff test result reported today. Total PSD staff recoveries increased to 80.

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