A second inmate at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been placed in isolation, according to Emery Nelson, a spokesman for the facility.

He said in a written response to questions that the prisoner was taken to the FDC at about 6 p.m. on July 17 by the U.S. Marshals Service, and initially tested positive. A secondary laboratory test later confirmed the positive result.

The unidentified inmate has been placed in isolation pending medical clearance in accordance with guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health, according to Nelson.

A second inmate has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2015

Nelson described that case as “the first confirmed positive case at FDC Honolulu,” but also confirmed that another inmate tested positive after being admitted to FDC on July 8 in an apparently unrelated incident.

Nelson said the pre-trial prisoner in that case — who sources said was a female inmate being held by the state  — was placed into quarantine pending lab results, but was then released from the facility on bail bond on July 10.

Diagnostic Laboratory Services notified federal officials on July 11 it had confirmed the positive test result for COVID-19, and “the Department of Health and other personnel were subsequently notified and contact tracing was initiated,” Nelson said in the statement.

Honolulu FDC has protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the facility, and since June 19 has required testing of all prisoners entering the facility. Prisoners who test negative and show no symptoms are placed in quarantine for at least 14 days, and must test negative again before being allowed to join the general population.

Inmates who test positive are isolated and are treated at the institution unless medical staff determine they require hospitalization, according to the statement. Inmates who are being released to other facilities or to the community are also supposed to quarantine for 14 days, according to Nelson.

FDC Honolulu is holding 326 inmates, including 37 state inmates being held under an agreement that allows the state to rent bed space in the federal facility.

Earlier this month the state Department of Public Safety announced that 69 inmates from Nevada tested positive for COVID-19 at Saguaro Correctional Center, a privately run prison in Eloy, Arizona where 1,125 Hawaii inmates are also being held. No Hawaii inmates have tested positive there.

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