No positive results among first batch of inmate COVID-19 tests

Hawaii Community Correctional Center reported Thursday no new COVID-19 cases as testing continues at the Hilo jail and Department of Public Safety facilities across the state.

The Department of Public Safety announced Monday it had placed the Hilo jail in quarantine, per its pandemic protocol, after an employee who had last worked at the facility April 7 tested positive for COVID-19. Two additional staff members were also told to self-quarantine until cleared by the state Department of Health.

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On Thursday, Toni Schwartz, Department of Public Safety public information officer, said test results for 91 inmates were received with no all receiving negative results. She added no inmates have reported symptoms.

“COVID-19 testing is continuously being conducted statewide at all facilities. Currently the inmate population at all facilities is clear of active COVID-19 cases,” Schwartz said.

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As of the most recent population report issued April 5, Hawaii Community Correctional Center reported housing 298 inmates, which exceeds operational capacity by 72 persons.

The precautionary move to put the facility in quarantine, suspending the movement of inmates within and outside the facility, lasts 10 days per guidelines provided by the state Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Schwartz. Inmates remain in their housing units until cleared by health care staff.

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