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COVID-19 cases increase in juvenile justice system

File photo: Tube tests stand in a holder. (Denis Balibouse/Keystone via AP, Pool)
File photo: Tube tests stand in a holder. (Denis Balibouse/Keystone via AP, Pool)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The number of COVID-19 cases in the state juvenile justice system has continued to gradually increase, with 100 workers and 93 youths testing positive as of Tuesday, according to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

Those numbers were up from 89 workers and 85 youths in a Friday count.

Palm Beach Youth Academy has had the most cases, with 21 youths and 11 workers testing positive. The Department of Juvenile Justice said Tuesday that 17 of the facility’s youths were no longer in medical isolation, and 10 of the workers had been medically cleared to return to their jobs.

In all, 45 of the 100 workers who have tested positive have been medically cleared.

Meanwhile, 66 of the 93 youths are no longer in medical isolation.

The Department of Juvenile Justice has taken a series of steps to try to prevent the spread of the virus in juvenile facilities, including suspending visitation.

“All staff that work at state-operated juvenile detention centers and residential commitment programs are screened daily on every shift prior to entering the facility,” the department said in a news release. “If a staff (member) presents with symptoms, he or she is denied entry and instructed to contact their health care provider. 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.”