State mismanaging mumps cases at OCCC, inmate's mother says

State mismanaging mumps cases at OCCC, inmate's mother says

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Hawaii deals with a soaring number of mumps cases, the virus is spreading quickly within the walls of Oahu's largest jail.

Of the 209 mumps cases statewide, 20 are of inmates at Oahu Community Correctional Center.

Beate "Trixie" Eurich said she was never notified that her son was one of them.

"There are a lot of questions, Eurich said. "And we don't have the answers, yet."

Eurich's 24-year-old son was serving time at OCCC for a violation of probation.

She said he was released on Monday, before his illness was confirmed by state health officials.

"According to what I know from my son, when he took the test a week prior to his release, and they are supposed to, to my knowledge, wait or was supposed to wait until test results returned and they didn't," Eurich said.

Instead, Eurich's son was released from jail and was going begin a drug treatment program.

He never made it, and instead was taken to the hospital when his face started swelling.

On Thursday, the state health department called Eurich and confirmed her son tested positive for the mumps virus.

"I felt sick right there because it was overwhelming," said Eurich. "I don't know if I had the mumps."

Eurich said she immediately got vaccinated and doctors told her she could return to work, but the DOH said her son needed to stay at home.

"He is confined to the apartment, so the only thing he can do is read, play games or watch TV," Eurich said.

The state Department of Public Safety said since the first mumps case was confirmed at OCCC on July 12th -- 20 out of the 1,200 inmates have contracted the virus. 12 are still in isolation, while the rest have been cleared.

DPS officials said Eurich's son was released on his own recognizance per court order, and that they didn't have the authority to detain him.

All staff and inmates have been educated on the signs and symptoms of mumps, but Trixie feels more needs to be done in notifying those who come in and out of the jail on a daily basis.

"If you let visitors come into your facility, you let officers come in or employees of rehab centers come in, put the ball in their corner and give them a heads up," she said. "Accidents and wrong decisions happen."

No OCCC employees or visitors have reported contracting the virus to DPS staff.

The DOH says there's no specific treatment for mumps. The highly-contagious disease is spread through coughing or sneezing and the best way to prevent it from spreading is to get vaccinated.

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