Staff member at youth prison in Cuyahoga County tests positive for coronavirus


By Eric Heisig - Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)



CLEVELAND, Ohio — A staff member at a juvenile correctional facility in Highland Hills has tested positive for the coronavirus, a few days after an inmate was also revealed to have it, officials said Saturday.

The Ohio Department of Youth Services found out Friday evening that the staff member, who works at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility, had tested positive for the virus, according to a statement from DYS spokeswoman Jill Craig. The employee was tested earlier in the day and had last worked on Wednesday, Craig wrote.

DYS found out about the staff member’s positive test two days after the state revealed that an 18-year-old man at the facility had the virus. The man started showing symptoms on Monday evening and was placed in isolation.

His was the first confirmed case inside any of the state’s three juvenile correctional facilities, which had 391 offenders between the ages of 10 and 21 as of April 1. One woman who did part-time contracting work at its central office in Columbus tested positive in March.

Craig’s statement said the Cuyahoga Hills employee will be off work and under isolation until they are cleared to return, and that staff is working with the county and state health department.

“Necessary precautions are being taken, including contact tracing that will be completed both internally and for any contact in the community,” Craig wrote. “The facility will also continue to closely monitor any symptoms displayed by both staff and youth.”

As of Saturday, all 94 inmates are quarantined at the Cuyahoga Hills facility, and three are in isolation. Four inmates have been tested; two tests are pending while one came back negative.

The facility has limited visitors to facilities, and provided inmates and staff with masks.

Juvenile justice advocates have called on Gov. Mike DeWine and youth prison officials to release teenagers being held in custody before the virus made its way into the detention centers and youth facilities around the state. The fears are similar to those in jails and prisons, where the state has recorded several thousand cases over the past few weeks: close living quarters could lead to a quick spread of the virus.

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By Eric Heisig

Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)

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