DJJ keeps doors closed to visitors amid virus

the boy holding the cage
Visitation will remain suspended through April 30.

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice said Friday it has extended until April 30 a ban on visitors to juvenile detention and residential-commitment facilities.

The announcement came hours after the department said a third juvenile-justice worker had tested positive for COVID-19, the contagious respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The department last month suspended visitation until April 15.

A news release Friday said the department will “continue to ensure frequent communication between youth and their families. All facility staff, along with outside personnel and vendors who work within the juvenile facilities, will continue to be screened prior to entry.”

The visitation rules allow clinical personnel to visit facilities for treatment purposes; instructional personnel to provide educational services; and attorney’s to visit you to discuss their legal cases.

The three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the juvenile-justice system have involved workers and not youths, according to the department.

The cases have been at the Broward Regional Juvenile Detention Center, the Broward Youth Treatment Center and the Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center.

DJJ’s Office of Health Services developed COVID-19 guidance, in compliance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, for all facilities serving DJJ youth.

This guidance included the Centers’ criteria on how to assess and care for youth who are exhibiting fever and respiratory symptoms and environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendations.

On Friday, DJJ said youths inside juvenile facilities “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.” Broward County trails only Miami-Dade County in overall cases of COVID-19, the deadly respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

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