HCCC reports two dozen more COVID-19 cases

Two dozen more Hawaii Community Correctional Center inmates and staff have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases associated with the Hilo jail to 113 since May 24.

Eighty-four inmate test results were received Thursday as part of mass testing underway at the facility; 22 were positive, according to the state Department of Public Safety (DPS). That brings the total number of infected inmates to 100 since the first cases were reported on May 24, though only 99 were still housed at the facility on Thursday.

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Of the 47 staff test results received, two were positive, bringing the total staff positives to 13.

Two positive cases were first reported at the Hilo jail on May 24 prompting the facility to implement its pandemic protocol status, which calls for a facility-wide quarantine of all inmate housing and suspending inmate movement going out of the facility.

The department said the facility is in “constant contact” with the courts and that ongoing testing is being implemented by HCCC health care staff, with the assistance of the Department of Health and the Hawaii National Guard.

Hawaii Community Correctional Center, as of its last population report issued Monday, houses 348 inmates, which exceeds operational capacity by 122 persons.

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DPS said it continues to encourage all staff and inmates to voluntarily get tested and receive the COVID vaccination.

“Vaccinations are a critical part of the Department of Public Safety’s efforts to mitigate spread of the virus among employees as well as the inmate population,” said Max Otani, DPS director, in a prepared statement. “The constant intake and release of pre-trial detainees in the jails make it difficult for DPS to fully vaccinate this population, but facility health care staff and DOH are working hard to educate inmates on the safety of the vaccine.”

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