Big Island Coronavirus Updates

71 HCCC Inmates Test Positive for COVID-19

May 29, 2021, 11:18 AM HST
* Updated May 29, 1:21 PM
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Seventy-one inmates at Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center have now tested positive for COVID-19, as of Saturday, May 29.

Reports of cases were initially reported earlier this week when the Public Safety Department announced two recently admitted prisoners tested positive for the virus.

PSD tested 119 inmates as part of a mass testing effort. Of those tested, 61 were positive and 58 were negative. Of the 49 staff tested, one result came back positive.

“The warden and his staff are working very hard to safeguard everyone and mitigate further spread of the virus,” said Tommy Johnson, PSD deputy director for corrections. “We appreciate the immediate assistance from the Department of Health team assigned to PSD, and I also want to commend the facility health care and security staff who quickly enacted their pandemic plan to isolate, quarantine, and cohort inmates to the best of their ability.”

HCCC has enacted its pandemic protocol which includes implementing a facility-wide quarantine of all inmate housing and suspending inmate movement going out of the facility. The facility is in constant contact with the courts to notify them of the status.

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On Saturday afternoon, Mayor Mitch Roth said the county is aware of the reported spike at HCCC and is working with PSD, DOH and Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency to address and contain the spread.

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“We applaud the quick response on behalf of the PSD and thank them for their excellent communication and swift action to address the issue,” Roth said. “At this time, we would like to remind residents that the virus is still very much a threat and would like to encourage those in our community to get vaccinated to help keep each other safe. Together we can and will beat this virus and return to normalcy, but it will take all of us. Stay safe, remain cautious, and have a safe and responsible Memorial Day Weekend.”

HCCC staff was notified and encouraged to contact their health care providers if they have questions about possible exposure. The staff has access to full personal protective equipment (PPE) and both inmates and staff are regularly reminded to practice all CDC/DOH health safety measures, including wearing a face covering, frequent hand washing, social distancing, sanitizing common spaces frequently and practicing good hygiene to reduce the risk of transmission.

The Department of Public Safety (PSD) continues to encourage all staff and inmates to voluntarily receive the COVID vaccination. 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, click here.

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