3 Hawaii inmates, 1 employee test positive for virus

OCCC now tallies nearly 300 — 256 inmates and three staff — with the coronavirus

HONOLULU (AP) — The state Department of Public Safety announced Friday that three inmates and one staff member at the Oahu Community Correction Center tested positive for COVID-19.

There are now nearly 300 people who have tested positive at the Honolulu facility, including 256 inmates and 53 employees, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Department officials said 181 inmates and two employees were tested. Only four results came back positive.

The Oahu Community Correction Center is designed to hold 628 inmates; its operational capacity is 954.

Early in the pandemic, several advocacy groups raised concerns about the safety of others crowded in jails and prisons statewide and mentioned the risk of an outbreak.

Since then, the Hawaii Supreme Court has had ongoing orders to release defendants incarcerated for misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor crimes to relieve space in the facilities.

The state Department of Health has reported more than 8,300 confirmed coronavirus cases and 63 deaths, including 200 newly confirmed cases and two deaths, as of Sunday.

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.