Dozens of Hawaii inmates housed at a private prison in southern Arizona are being monitored for COVID-19 symptoms, including some who had contact with inmates from Nevada who already tested positive.
The Hawaii Department of Public Safety said 45 Hawaii inmates in the same unit at the Saguaro Correctional Center are in quarantine and being monitored for symptoms, while the 28 Hawaii inmates who had contact with Nevada inmates will be quarantined for 14 days, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
Another five Hawaii inmates were being held in the medical unit for issues unrelated to COVID-19, department officials said.
Hawaii prisoners occupied more than 1,100 of the facility's 1,926 beds as of Friday, officials said. Nevada inmates occupied an additional 99 beds.
CoreCivic, which runs the correctional center, did not immediately respond to calls by The Associated Press on Saturday.
“There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among any Hawaii inmates housed at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona. Saguaro’s parent company, CoreCivic, confirms that 69 offenders from Nevada, housed in a separate part of the facility, tested positive for COVID-19," Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said.
She added: "As a precautionary measure, the 28 Hawaii inmates were relocated to vacant housing and will be monitored for symptoms for 14 days, to include daily temperature checks.”
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Corrections Corporation of America contracts with the Hawaii Department of Public Safety to house adult, male inmates from Hawaii to ease prison overcrowding on the islands.
Saguaro Correctional Center is located in Eloy, Arizona, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) southeast of Phoenix.