Maui courts have shifted to televised hearings after two Maui Community Correctional Center inmates tested positive for the coronavirus. Yoohyun Jung/Civil Beat/2019

Two Maui jail inmates who appeared in court and later tested positive with COVID-19 prompted the Maui court system to shift all hearings to closed-circuit television on Thursday, according to officials with the state Judiciary and Department of Public Safety.

Toni Schwartz, spokeswoman for Department of Public Safety, said the first positive case was confirmed Sunday night, and the second was confirmed positive on Thursday.

“Per normal procedure, and in accordance with the PSD Pandemic Response Plan, the courts were notified that these two inmates had been to court prior to testing positive,” Schwartz said in a written response to questions.

Jan Kagehiro, spokeswoman for the state Judiciary, said court officials consulted with the state Department of Health, and were told court employees were not at risk of becoming infected because of the incidents.

However, “in an abundance of caution” the District and Circuit Courts on Maui will continue to use closed-circuit television until Feb. 12 for appearances by all inmates at Maui Community Correctional Center and the Maui Police Department cellblock, Kagehiro said.

An MCCC worker who asked not to be identified said Thursday that staff were told 10 inmates at the jail have tested positive for the coronavirus, but Department of Public Safety is reporting only the two positive cases so far.

The department is also reporting 21 other inmates were placed in medical isolation, and 75 have been placed in quarantine. Two MCCC staff have also been placed on precautionary 14-day quarantine due to possible exposure, but there are no active staff infections, according to data from the department.

“MCCC is working collaboratively with the Maui District Health Office, the Department of Health, and the National Guard to implement mass testing of affected inmates and staff,” according to a written statement from the Public Safety department. “In accordance with the MCCC Pandemic Response Plan, inmates who require medical isolation or quarantine are separated from other inmates.”

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