Corrections officials learned the COVID-19 outbreak at Halawa Correctional Facility had rapidly expanded Friday as 63 more inmates and six more staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.

The new test results bring the total number of active cases to 68 inmates and 21 staff at Halawa, which is the state’s largest prison. Halawa has 936 inmates.

“HCF immediately enacted its pandemic protocol to isolate these inmates and begin mitigation efforts. Our security and medical staff are working around the clock to safeguard staff and inmates and keep the virus from spreading,” said Max Otani, director of the state Department of Public Safety. “I am so proud of everyone at the facility for their dedication to pulling through this situation as a team.”

Halawa is the third in-state Hawaii correctional facility with a significant cluster of COVID-19 cases.

The Oahu Community Correctional Center has reported 449 inmate cases and 103 employee infections so far, making it the largest Hawaii cluster of the pandemic. Waiawa Correctional Facility has had 213 inmate cases and 14 employees who were infected with the virus.

Saguaro Correctional Center, a privately run prison in Arizona where 1,079 Hawaii inmates are housed, has reported 672 inmate cases so far. Three Hawaii inmates at Saguaro and one Saguaro prisoner from Idaho who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.

Staff at Halawa have implemented facility-wide isolation and quarantine protocols, which include suspending all inmate movement within the facility and transfers to and from the facility for at least 14 days, according to the state Department of Public Safety.

Support nonprofit, independent journalism.

During this election season, we hope that our coverage provides you with the information to make informed decisions on issues that you care deeply about.

Whether it’s affordable housing, education or the environment, these issues depend on your vote, and our ability to report on them depends on your support.

Every contribution, however big or small, allows us to continue keeping readers informed through election day and beyond. So, if you found value in our coverage, please take the next step by making a contribution to Civil Beat today.

About the Author