COVID-19 cases in juvenile justice system jump

Coronavirus testing tubes
Coronavirus testing tubes (AP)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The number of youths in the state juvenile justice system who have tested positive for COVID-19 has increased to 119, up from 97 on Thursday, according to figures released Tuesday by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

The number of infected workers in the system also increased to 120, up from 106 on Thursday.

A large part of the jump in youth cases occurred at Redwood Youth Academy, which had 15 cases Tuesday, up from three last week. Redwood Youth Academy is in Raiford and has a capacity of 24 male juveniles, according to a state website.

Palm Beach Youth Academy has had the most juvenile cases, with 21, a number that was unchanged Tuesday from last week.

In all, 69 of the 119 infected youths were no longer in medical isolation Tuesday.

“Youth inside juvenile detention centers and residential commitment programs are continuously being monitored and screened for symptoms and if a youth shows symptoms, 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 must show no symptoms and be cleared by the facility’s designated health authority before they are removed from isolation.”

Also, 50 of the 120 infected employees have been medically cleared to return to work.

“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.”