Big Island officials offer free testing to community amid growing COVID-19 cluster at HCCC


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii County officials will be offering free COVID-19 testing to community members following a cluster that was reported at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center (HCCC) in Hilo.

As of June 15, a total of 199 inmates and 19 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Testing, which will be conducted every Wednesday and Friday, is expected to begin Wednesday, June 16 and continue through Friday, June 26.

The first testing site will be located at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.

County officials say the decision was made over concern of continued spread into the community as well as the overall increase in visitor arrivals.

“At this time, we feel that setting up a testing program is the best way for us to gather data to ensure that our communities remain protected,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “We are slowly beginning our return to normalcy, and ensuring that we don’t trip at the finish line is our number one priority. We would also like to remind residents that with the new variants becoming prevalent in the community that it is truly our kuleana to get vaccinated to keep our community healthy, happy and safe as we begin our recovery towards a thriving Hawaii Island.”

Testing and vaccinations will also be made available to HCCC staff and their families upon request.

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