OKEECHOBEE — More coronavirus cases are being reported at juvenile detention facilities in Okeechobee County.
According to the report released late Tuesday afternoon by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Okeechobee Youth Development Center, 7200 U.S. 441 N., Okeechobee, has 15 youth and four staff members who tested positive for COVID-19.
Okeechobee Youth Treatment Center, 7200 U.S. 441 N., Okeechobee, has one staff member who tested positive.
Okeechobee Girls Academy, 1117 NE 39th Blvd, Okeechobee, had three staff members and one youth who tested positive.
Okeechobee Intensive Halfway House, Northeast 72nd Circle W., Basinger, had one staff member who tested positive.
All four of the Okeechobee juvenile detention programs are operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, a national provider of behavioral health services to at-risk and adjudicated youth through residential treatment facilities and community-based programs.
Statewide, DJJ reports, 43 staff members and 31 youth in Florida juvenile detention facilities have tested positive.
DJJ is working with the private contracted provider and the local health department to test all youth and staff at the above-listed Okeechobee residential commitment programs. All employees as well as parents/guardians of youth at the programs have been notified. Increased cleaning and sanitation protocols will also continue at the programs.
The county health departments and/or each facility’s designated health authority determine when youth should be tested for COVID-19 based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing criteria. 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.
In order to protect the personal health information of these individuals, the name or occupation of the employees at these facilities will not be identified. Staff may be employed by the state or one of its contracted providers. 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. 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.