HONOLULU — One O’ahu Community Correctional Center staff member and nine OCCC inmates tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Department of Public Safety COVID-19 report released Thursday afternoon.
The number of OCCC staff members infected with COVID-19 remains at 52, and there 253 inmates infected with the coronavirus, the report states.
The report tested two staff members this week. One result was negative, and one was positive.
The Kaua’i County Correctional Facility (KCCC) inmates and employees numbers remained stagnant with zero COVID infections.
The OCCC has accumulated four times as many cases as the entire island of Kaua‘i. Currently, Kaua‘i recorded 56 instances of COVID-19, with one active case on the island.
KCCC Prosecuting attorney Justin Kollar remained confident Kaua‘i’s handling of the situation.
“The ten largest clusters in the U.S. are all jails or prisons. We have to keep it out of our facility on Kaua‘i for the entire community’s safety,” Kollar said in a Tuesday afternoon interview with the TGI.
The Department of Public Safety (PSD) coordinated with the Department of Health (DOH) to conduct mass testing of all OCCC inmates in each of the 19 individual housing units.
The DOH continues to conduct follow-up testing in the coming weeks on all inmates requiring it at OCCC. The initial round of mass testing last Thursday.
“I firmly believe that by working together with our partners at KPD, the Judiciary, the Department of Public Safety, and the Office of the Public Defender, we can protect our community from having our jail become a COVID-19 hotspot like OCCC on O‘ahu,” Kollar told the TGI Tuesday afternoon.
Lawmakers say the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the prison system and the second wave prisoners released by the State Judiciary could endanger everyone.
They suggest federal CARES Act funds the government already has at its disposal could pay for the lease.
House Speaker Scott K. Saiki, Rep. Scot Z. Matayoshi and several other state representatives sent a letter to Governor David Ige Wednesday requesting he “take all measures necessary to lease additional inmate space at the Federal Detention Center.”
According to the letter, referenced in Wednesday’s press release, many of the released prisoners would become homeless, and unable to quarantine once released.
The lack of presumed resources will present a risk of spreading the disease throughout our communities from a location with known COVID-19 infections.
In the letter, lawmakers suggested the Federal Detention Center be used to intake new prisoners could be held there for 14 days to make sure they are virus-free before returning into the general population.