Nine youth detainees and four staff members of Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall and the William F. James Ranch tested positive this week for Covid-19, according to Santa Clara County officials. The outbreak is the first detected transmission of the virus in the county’s juvenile facilities since the pandemic began in March.

On Nov. 28, a youth detained at the James Ranch in Morgan Hill tested positive for Covid-19 after reporting symptoms, according to county staff. On Nov. 30, a juvenile detainee at Santa Clara Juvenile Hall in San Jose exhibited symptoms of Covid-19, and subsequently tested positive for the illness.

“In consultation with the Public Health Department and following established protocols, all youth who were in close contact with these individuals were tested and began a 14-day quarantine,” states a press release from the county. “The Probation Department has notified all caregivers of the youth who have tested positive for Covid-19, and they are all receiving excellent medical care.”

As a precaution, all youth who are housed at the James Ranch have been tested for Covid-19, even if they were not in close contact with the juvenile who tested positive, county staff said. Testing is underway for all youth detained at Juvenile Hall. Furthermore, on-site Covid-19 testing has been conducted for all probation staff members who work at James Ranch and Juvenile Hall.

The county probation department and public health officials are investigating the source of the exposures at the juvenile detention facilities, and will make any necessary enhancements to protocols.

The probation department is also working with other justice system officials to determine whether additional youth detainees can be safely released from custody to further reduce the risk of transmission within the facilities.

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