Hilo courthouse security guard tests positive for COVID-19

Employees at the state courthouse in Hilo have been notified that a security guard who worked in the building has tested positive for the coronavirus.

An email sent Sunday by Third Circuit Court Administrator Lester Oshiro and obtained by the Tribune-Herald was addressed “Dear Hale Kaulike employees.” The email said court officials learned of the positive COVID-19 test on Saturday.

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“The individual last worked on Friday, going home immediately after learning there had been close prolonged contact with someone who had tested positive,” Oshiro wrote. “All areas where the person had worked or may have spent prolonged periods of time during the past week were cleaned and disinfected soon after the individual went home to self-quarantine. Those areas were again sanitized today (Sunday).”

A source who requested anonymity told the Tribune-Herald on Monday: “They didn’t notify defense attorneys or prosecutors. It’s business as usual at the courthouse this morning.”

“People are pretty upset about this,” the source added.

According to the email, other employees of the private security company who had worked in close prolonged contact with the infected individual were self-quarantining at home and “won’t return until it is medically appropriate to do so.”

“All reports of this nature are taken seriously and follow up is our top priority,” the email said. “Please be mindful that we need to be sensitive to an individual’s personal privacy and, therefore, are unable to share a lot of details. We will continue to work with Dept. of Health and want to assure you that we are taking all steps necessary to ensure your safety and well-being.”

The state Judiciary later confirmed the guard, employed by G4S Secure Solutions, tested positive on Saturday.

“We shared this information with court staff for their awareness only,” Judiciary spokeswoman Jan Kagehiro said in an email. “Given that court staff don’t have close prolonged contact with security personnel, the Department of Health has advised us that any health risk is very low, especially because the security officer was asymptomatic, left the premises immediately after learning a close personal contact had tested positive, and all affected areas were immediately cleaned and disinfected.”

The Judiciary on Sunday also announced a fourth Judiciary employee has tested positive for COVID-19.

The employee works for the Honolulu District Court.

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A South Kohala District Court employee in Waimea and two Family Court employees at Kapolei, Oahu, previously tested positive.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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