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35% of inmate population at Hilo correctional facility have active COVID infections

Inmates at Hawaii Community Correctional Center undergo COVID testing.
Inmates at Hawaii Community Correctional Center undergo COVID testing.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Jun. 11, 2021 at 4:26 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 4:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Public Safety reported Friday that 40 additional inmates at Hawaii Community Correctional Center tested positive for COVID.

This brought the total number of active cases among incarcerated individuals at HCCC to 119 — which represents about 35% of the facility’s inmate population.

Along with a rise in inmate cases, DPS also reported that another employee tested positive for the virus. Officials said seven infections among staffers are considered “active cases.”

DPS also said two of its employees are hospitalized.

Officials said one HCCC staff member has recovered from the virus and was medically cleared to return to full duty.

Meanwhile, Gov. David Ige said he is monitoring the outbreak in the jail and is weighing whether to require vaccinations in the facility.

“Once the vaccines get to regular authorization, it makes things a little bit easier to consider the appropriate conditions that mandating vaccines would be proper,” Ige said. “Because it’s under Emergency Use Authorization, we are hesitant to have it required.”

Furthermore, Ige said most inmates are refusing to get a shot and some employees have also declined.

“It has been difficult because the inmates have declined to get vaccinated for the most part. The employees have been offered the vaccine on numerous occasions and some chose to get vaccinated — others not.”

DPS said mass COVID testing is underway and all inmate movement has been suspended.

Officials continue to encourage all staff and inmates to voluntarily get tested and vaccinated.

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