Florida juvenile justice system sees more COVID-19 cases


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The number of COVID-19 cases in the state juvenile-justice system continued to increase during the past week, with new numbers showing 47 youths and 50 workers have been infected.

The Tuesday numbers were an increase from 31 youths and 43 workers a week earlier, according to information from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

Seven of the youths were no longer in medical isolation Tuesday, while 20 of the workers had been cleared to return to work, the department said. Okeechobee Youth Development Center has had the most cases, with 16 youths and five workers infected. The second-highest number of infected youths was at Oak Grove Academy in Hamilton County, with nine cases. It was followed by Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center, which has had seven youth cases.

“Youth inside juvenile detention centers and residential commitment programs are continuously being monitored and screened for symptoms and if a youth becomes symptomatic, he or she is isolated from other youth and the facility’s designated health authority is contacted,” the department said in a news release Tuesday. “Youth no longer in medical isolation must show no symptoms and be cleared by the facility’s designated health authority.”

Broward Regional Juvenile Detention Center has had the most worker cases, with 12.

“All staff that work inside DJJ facilities are screened daily on every shift prior to entering the facility and if a staffer presents with symptoms, he or she is denied entry and is instructed to contact their health care provider,” the department news release said. “Staff will not be permitted to return to work until cleared by a medical professional. Outside vendors and personnel continue to be screened daily prior to entry.”