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HCCC Inmate Transfers to O‘ahu Prison Test Positive for COVID-19

By Tiffany DeMasters
June 23, 2021, 11:10 AM HST
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New COVID-19 cases were identified among inmates at the state prison on O‘ahu following a prisoner transfer from Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center last week.

Nine of the HCCC transfers to Halawa Correctional Facility tested positive for the virus, according to PSD on Tuesday, June 22, adding all prisoners were already in mandatory transfer-related quarantine.

On June 22, the Public Safety Department reported the recovery of 42 HCCC inmates, bringing the total active cases in the facility down from 111 to 69. Overall, 167 cases have been cleared at the jail. Positive cases among staff remain at six with two still hospitalized.

Thirty-four inmates were moved to O‘ahu jails on June 17 in an effort to alleviate overcrowding in the Big Island jail. This movement of prisoners comes as HCCC continues to battle a COVID-19 cluster within the facility. With an operational capacity of 226, there were currently 344 inmates housed at HCCC, according to a bi-monthly report released from the PSD on June 7.

HCCC inmates were also sent to the Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC) and Kulani Correctional Facility. No other O‘ahu jails have reported new coronavirus cases among inmates, however, WCCC confirmed an employee who last worked on June 16, tested positive for COVID-19.

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Only inmates who were vaccinated, and/or tested negative prior to transport, and deemed medically cleared to travel, were considered to be moved to O‘ahu jails. The facilities placed the newly admitted inmates in an intake quarantine, which is in line with PSD’s Pandemic Plan and based on DOH and CDC guidelines for correctional facilities.

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HCCC has been on lockdown and inter-facility quarantine since May 24 when the outbreak was initially reported. No prisoner transports from the jail to court have been happening in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.

PSD continues to encourage all staff and inmates to voluntarily get tested and 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.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.
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