State health officials reported 284 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, including seven in Maui County, one on Hawaii island and one on Kauai. The rest were on Oahu.
The continued high case count in Hawaii comes as the state’s largest jail deals with an outbreak. Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said Friday that 126 inmates have now tested positive for COVID-19 at the Oahu Community Correctional Center.
The Department of Public Safety, working with the Department of Health, conducted mass testing of all OCCC inmates in each of the 19 individual housing units there, according to a news release Saturday. Of 104 more inmate test results returned Saturday, 42 were positive and 62 negative. All remaining inmates will be tested in the coming days, the release says.
The Public Safety Department has also received test results for 124 facility staff — nine were positive, 114 were negative and one was inconclusive. The department has posted more information here.
That quarantine is supposed to last for the two-week incubation period for COVID-19 to prevent the spread of the virus inside the facility. But Espinda said overcrowding in the unit where the prisoners were quarantined at OCCC prompted jail staff to move some prisoners out into the general population early.
On Saturday, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, in cooperation with the City and County of Honolulu, announced that the popular Waimea Rock on Oahu’s North Shore was closing immediately due to large groups gathering at the rock to jump into the ocean.
Several weeks ago, a social media post invited hundreds of teenagers to a cliff jumping contest at the rock. Anyone who violates this closure or any other closures currently in place on O‘ahu could be cited or arrested by law enforcement.
Gov. David Ige said Thursday that the state may need to push back its planned Sept. 1 date for reopening the state to tourists with a modified quarantine.
The state has seen an average of 212 new daily cases over the last seven days, and recorded more cases so far in August than all prior months combined.