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UPDATED: Local Juvenile Detention Facility Worker, 7 FL Prison Employees Test Positive

SUNDAY 12:30 P.M. UPDATE:

A worker at a South Florida juvenile-justice facility has tested positive for COVID-19, officials announced Sunday morning.

The employee of the Broward Youth Treatment Center was confirmed to have the disease on Friday. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice did not provide information about the employee’s job duties or details such as age or gender.

However, a news release from the department states the employee has been off work for five days and will not return “until a full recovery is documented by a medical professional. DJJ is working closely with the local county health department to determine next steps for screening staff and the youth at the program.”

There are 27 people in the program, all of whom “are being continuously monitored and checked for flu-like symptoms.”

The agency has notified parents and guardians, and no visitors have been allowed there for 14 days.

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ORIGINAL STORY:

Seven Florida Department of Corrections employees who work at different facilities have tested positive for COVID-19, agency officials announced late Friday.

The officials would not release the positions held by the infected prison workers, but said in a statement that the employees worked for either the corrections department or one of its contractors at five prisons and two probation offices.

The employees work at Century Correctional Institute in Escambia County; Everglades Correctional Institution in Miami-Dade County; Florida Women’s Reception Center and Marion Correctional Institution, both in Ocala; Zephyrhills Correctional Institution in Pasco County; and community corrections regional offices in Lake Butler and West Palm Beach.

They will not return to work until they have been cleared by health officials, according to the agency.

An investigation is now underway to identify inmates and staff who may need to go into isolation after coming into close contact with the infected employees, officials added.

There are no confirmed coronavirus cases within the inmate population as of 9 a.m. Friday.

However, corrections officials say they are working closely with the Florida Department of Health to monitor and contain potential outbreaks in the prison system, which has 143 facilities, more than 23,000 employees and nearly 96,000 inmates.

In an effort to prevent the virus from spreading, the department has suspended face-to-face inmate visitations, restricted the intake of county jail inmates and began screening anyone who enters a correctional institution.