Mass COVID-19 testing of hundreds of Hawaiʻi inmates being held at an Arizona prison begins Thursday. This comes days after 56 Hawaiʻi inmates at the Saguaro Correctional Center tested positive for the coronavirus.
Seven Hawaiʻi inmates at the Arizona prison have been hospitalized, four have recovered, and another 741 are in quarantine and awaiting testing.
More than 1,000 Hawaiʻi 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, Hawaiʻi inmates have been sent to Saguaro and other correctional facilities on the U.S. mainland because of overcrowding in Hawaiʻi 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.