Caldwell asks Gov. Ige to keep COVID-infected inmates out of Oahu case count

Prison officials say that of the 300 infections at the Oahu Community Correctional Center, 231...
Prison officials say that of the 300 infections at the Oahu Community Correctional Center, 231 have recovered, leaving just 58 active cases.(none)
Updated: Dec. 15, 2020 at 2:02 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Tuesday that he had asked Gov. David Ige for permission to amend an emergency order that would allow the city to remove inmates who had been infected with COVID=19 in prison outbreaks from the city’s daily case counts.

Weeks after explaining to the public why those cases actually needed to be reported in Honolulu’s daily counts ― potentially preventing the county from moving into the next tier of its recovery framework ― Caldwell said Monday that was changing course in an effort to help businesses stay afloat.

“The Halawa count is taking us up to numbers that I’m not comfortable with, and are going to be creating issues for our tier movement,” the mayor said during a press conference on Monday, referring to an outbreak at the Halawa Correctional Facility that had sickened hundreds.

The seven-day average of total new cases reported on Oahu needs to be between 20 and 49 in order to move from Tier 2 into Tier 3. The positivity rate also needs to be between 1% and 2.49%

Oahu has been in Tier 2 of the city’s framework since mid-October.

In his address to reporters on November 23, during the midst of an outbreak at the Waiawa Community Correctional Center, Caldwell said that the additional cases brought on by isolated outbreaks at prison facilities were an element of the recovery framework that the city simply needed to weather, for help and safety reasons.

“It was recommended that we not separate (the prison cases) out of our system, because these folks who get stick in our prisons may need hospital care,” Mayor Caldwell said at the time.

But over the course of the last week, hundreds of more inmates have been diagnosed with COVID-19, spiking the number of cases that have been reported on Oahu over that time period.

“The people of Oahu have worked so hard and sacrificed so much personal freedom and economic damage, and to allow this cluster in a prison to delay our movement forward or even send us backwards is something we don’t want to do,” Caldwell said. “We are moving, starting tomorrow, not to count prisoners in our tier system.”

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