Youth at Juvenile Hall Tests Positive for COVID-19

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Source: Santa Barbara County Probation Department

Chief Probation Officer Tanja Heitman reported [Wednesday] that a recently admitted youth at the County of Santa Barbara Probation Department’s Santa Maria Juvenile Hall (SMJH) tested positive for COVID-19.  As of September 23, the Probation Department has 15 youth at SMJH.

The Probation Department has a comprehensive COVID-19 Management Plan that addresses this situation, including testing all youth for COVID-19 when entering the facility and housing all newly booked youth in an Intake Unit for a 14-day precautionary quarantine period.  It was during this intake process that the youth was tested and identified positive for COVID-19.  The youth has no symptoms or fever; however, as a precaution and to protect other youth and staff, the positive youth has been transferred to a separate medical housing unit for quarantine and enhanced medical observation.

The Probation Department is focused on and responsive to the mental and physical well-being of youth in this challenging and stressful situation, and are taking steps to ensure their wellness. The Department is continuing to make decisions based on best practices in health and safety standards for the youth under their care, their officers, and the community. Everyone is encouraged to visit the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department website at https://publichealthsbc.org/ for more information on COVID-19.

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