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Mass Testing To Begin On Hawai?i Inmates In Arizona Prison

Cory Lum
More than 1,000 inmates are being held at the Saguaro Correctional Facility in Eloy, Arizona

Mass COVID-19 testing of hundreds of Hawai?i inmates being held at an Arizona prison begins Thursday. This comes days after 56 Hawai?i inmates at the Saguaro Correctional Center tested positive for the coronavirus.

Seven Hawai?i inmates at the Arizona prison have been hospitalized, four have recovered, and another 741 are in quarantine and awaiting testing.

More than 1,000 Hawai?i inmates are held at the prison in Eloy, Arizona, under a contract between the state and Tennessee-based CoreCivic, a private prison operator. Since the mid-90s, Hawai?i inmates have been sent to Saguaro and other correctional facilities on the U.S. mainland because of overcrowding in Hawai?i prisons.

Fred Hyun, acting director of the state Department of Public Safety, said nurses from other facilities are being brought in to complete testing in one day. He says the department is in communication with the Saguaro facility and that testing will help identify hotspots and contain the spread.

Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Her commitment to her Native Hawaiian community and her fluency in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi has led her to build a de facto ʻōiwi beat at the news station. Send your story ideas to her at
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