16 inmates positive for COVID-19 as virus spreads on Oahu

HONOLULU — Seven more inmates at Hawaii’s biggest jail have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections to 16, the state Department of Public Safety said Wednesday.

The agency said the state Department of Health is coordinating with the National Guard to test Oahu Community Correctional Center staff and inmates for the disease. Testing began Monday and will continue through the week.

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The infections come as COVID-19 case numbers on Oahu have been surging. Last week alone, nearly 1,200 new cases were diagnosed on the island.

The jail housed 837 inmates as of Aug. 3, the most recent date for which data are available.

Earlier this year, the Hawaii Supreme Court ordered the state and lower courts to reduce inmate populations at prisons and jails to decrease the chances of the coronavirus spreading.

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The Oahu jail has contracted a sanitation company to perform a deep-cleaning of the quarantine housing and intake areas.

The jail has suspended transporting inmates to court, with the agreement of the state judiciary. Hearings will be held by video to the extent possible.

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