First Hawai‘i Inmate at Arizona Prison Succumbs to COVID-19

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A Hawai‘i inmate at Saguaro Correctional Center died a COVID-19-related death on Tuesday at an Arizona hospital, officials reported Thursday.

The inmate, who was 60-69 years old with underlying health conditions, was admitted on Oct. 19 for treatment of a 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, deputy director for Corrections. “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, Ariz., was completed Oct. 29. The 662 inmates with first-round negative test results are undergoing re-testing as part of surge testing efforts at the facility. The current test results of the entire Hawai‘i inmate population at Saguaro are broken down as follows:

Courtesy of Department of Public Safety


Of the 138 active positive cases, 131 will have been in 14-day medical isolation as of Friday and are expected to be cleared from quarantine, leaving three positive inmates in medical isolation and four inmates in the hospital.

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. That is why PSD is conducting surge testing at all facilities statewide and asked Saguaro to do the same,” said Fred Hyun, acting PSD Director.


On top of the monitoring and testing, the Saguaro staff assured PSD 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 click here.

Click here for more information on PSD’s planning and response to COVID-19, inmate testing data, and information detailing the efforts made to safeguard the inmates, staff and public.


The Department of Public Safety (PSD) has also established an information hotline with recorded updates on the Saguaro testing at 808-587-1421.

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