Coronavirus cases spike at juvenile justice facility in St. Augustine

COVID-19 cases top 200 among juvenile justice youth in Florida

Coronavirus molecule
Coronavirus molecule (CNN)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – More than 200 youths in Florida’s juvenile-justice system have tested positive for COVID-19, with the number of cases steadily increasing, according to information released Thursday by the state Department of Juvenile Justice.

The number of infected youths increased to 216 on Thursday, up from 159 a week earlier. The numbers show a spike during the past week at St. Johns Youth Academy, which has 26 cases, the most in the state.

Next highest was Palm Beach Youth Academy, which has had 21 cases, though 20 of the youths are no longer in medical isolation, according to the department. In all, 78 of the 216 youths who have tested positive statewide are no longer in medical isolation.

The number of infected juvenile-justice workers also increased to 185 on Thursday, up from 164 a week earlier. The largest numbers of infected workers have been at Broward Regional Juvenile Detention Center and Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center, which have each had 16 cases. In all, 78 of the 185 workers who have tested positive have been medically cleared to return to their jobs, according to the department.  

A news release said the department has taken a series of steps to try to prevent the spread of the disease.

“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 release said. “If a staff 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.”