Virus outbreak at Hawaii prison infects 89 inmates and staff
HONOLULU — Hawaii prison officials said an additional 63 inmates and six staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus at a state prison.
The outbreak has left 68 inmates and 21 staff members infected with the virus at the Halawa Correctional Facility in Oahu, Hawaii News Now reported Friday. There are 936 inmates at the facility, all of whom are now being tested.
A lockdown has been instituted in the facility that suspended all inmate movement and blocked transfers to and from the prison. The quarantine will last for at least two weeks.
“HCF immediately enacted its pandemic protocol to isolate these inmates and begin mitigation efforts,” said Max Otani, the state Department of Public Safety’s director. “Our security and medical staff are working around the clock to safeguard staff and inmates and keep the virus from spreading. I am so proud of everyone at the facility for their dedication to pulling through this situation as a team.”
This is the third major outbreak at a Hawaii prison since the pandemic began. The Oahu Community Correctional Center has had 449 inmates test positive for the virus while the number of inmates infected with the coronavirus at the Waiawa Community Correctional Center in Waipahu is over 200. More than 600 Hawaii inmates have also tested positive for the virus at a privately owned prison in Arizona.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.