Big Island Coronavirus Updates

DPS: 4 Inmates at HCCC Test Positive For COVID

February 18, 2022, 7:30 AM HST
* Updated February 17, 8:19 PM
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The state Department of Public Safety on Thursday, Feb. 17, reported four COVID-19 positive test results among inmates at Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center in Hilo.

The results were among a batch of 27 total recent inmate test results. The other 23 tests came back negative.

COVID testing is continuously being conducted in state prisons and jails as well as in the contracted Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz.

The latest testing updates for correctional facilities are as follows:

  • Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center: 27 inmate test results; four positive, 23 negative.
  • Kulani Correctional Facility: One staff recovery reported.
  • Halawa Correctional Facility (O‘ahu): 61 inmate test results; nine positive, 52 negative. One employee has recovered.
  • Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center: Six inmate test results; one positive, five negative.
  • O‘ahu Community Correctional Center: 91 negative inmate test results. One staff recovery was reported.
  • Waiawa Correctional Facility (O‘ahu): One negative inmate test result. Two staff recoveries reported. The facility is completely clear of all active COVID-19 cases.
  • Women’s Community Correctional Center (O‘ahu): Two inmates have recovered. The inmate population is clear of all active COVID-19 cases.

COVID updates for other divisions:

  • Administrative Division: One employee has recovered.

Saguaro Correctional Center to resume inmate visitation

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The Saguaro Correctional Center is resuming in-person, non-contact visitation for families of Hawai’i inmates incarcerated there, effective Feb. 28. Inmates have been informed of the change. All families will have to follow new COVID guidelines for entry into the facility.

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“The COVID-19 outbreak at Saguaro was quickly contained and all inmates have been tested and are clear of active infections,” said Deputy Director for Corrections Tommy Johnson in a news release. “The Department of Public Safety has been in discussion with Saguaro officials, and we feel it is safe to resume visitation there as long as the families and inmates follow the added COVID-19 safety measures.”

All regular visitation rules will apply as per policy. Visitors must call the Saguaro visitation office to schedule visits and must schedule the visit at least seven days in advance. The new COVID-19 safety measures include:

  • Inmates must be fully vaccinated, including booster shots.
  • Visitors do not have to be vaccinated but must show proof of a negative COVID test result (Antigen or PCR) taken within 24 hours of the visit. No home tests will be accepted.
  • Masks must be worn at all times.
  • The visitation areas will be sanitized between each visit session.

Inmate Booster Update

On Jan. 3, DPS announced a $25 incentive for all fully vaccinated inmates who choose to receive the booster shot. On Jan. 13, the department reported 255 inmates received the booster. As of Feb. 11, 1,025 inmates, in-state and at the Saguaro Correctional Center, have opted to receive the booster.

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This $25 booster bonus is in addition to the one-time $50 incentive offered to all inmates in DPS custody who completed their full vaccination. The vaccine incentive program applies to all inmates in the department’s custody on or after March 3, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2024, who are still in custody.

The payments are deposited into the inmate’s spendable trust account. A portion of the money is withdrawn for victim restitution.

The Department of Public Safety continues to encourage all staff and inmates to voluntarily get tested and receive the COVID vaccine.

For more detailed inmate testing data, the department’s Pandemic Plan and information about response efforts made to safeguard inmates, staff and the public, visit the DPS dedicated COVID-19 webpage.

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