The Hawaii Department of Public Safety today reported 61 new confirmed coronavirus cases among inmates at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center, bringing the total confirmed inmate cases at the Hilo facility to 71. The new cases were discovered following a mass testing effort currently underway at the facility.
Only one staff member tested positive out of the 49 who were tested, according to a news release from the department. HCCC has implemented quarantine measures and suspended the movements of inmates exiting the facility.
“The warden and his staff are working very hard to safeguard everyone and mitigate further spread of the virus,” said Tommy Johnson, PSD deputy director for corrections, in a statement. “We appreciate the immediate assistance from the Department of Health team assigned to PSD, and I also want to commend the facility health care and security staff who quickly enacted their pandemic plan to isolate, quarantine, and cohort inmates to the best of their ability.”
Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said he was aware of the recent spike in cases at the facility. Roth said he was working with officials at the public safety department, Hawaii State Department of Health, and the County of Hawaii Civil Defense Administration to contain the spread of the virus.
“We applaud the quick response on behalf of the PSD and thank them for their excellent communication and swift action to address the issue,” Roth said in a statement. “At this time, we would like to remind residents that the virus is still very much a threat and would like to encourage those in our community to get vaccinated to help keep each other safe. Together we can and will beat this virus and return to normalcy, but it will take all of us. Stay safe, remain cautious, and have a safe and responsible Memorial Day Weekend.”