Out of the 97 kids nationwide that have tested positive, 25 of them were at a Virginia juvenile detention center.
Twenty-five kids from a juvenile detention center near Richmond, Virginia, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Officials reported the new cases originating from Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center over the weekend. Its spread can be traced back to April 2, when two employees and a child tested positive for the virus after showing symptoms related to COVID-19.
The facility, which houses around 280 children between the ages of 11 and 20, immediately isolated those who tested positive (13 have been cleared). Most of the confirmed cases showed no visible signs of illness; four have experienced more serious symptoms.
So far, 97 children nationwide have been diagnosed with the virus, and Virginia and Louisiana make up around half of the confirmed cases.
While public places like restaurants and retail stores have closed, in no place is the threat of disease more fraught now than the nation's prisons. With their cramped living conditions and a lack of resources like hand sanitizer and soap, the virus has swept through jails with frightening speed. For instance, Riker's Island in New York is at the epicenter of the prison outbreak. Yet child detention centers have not garnered the same level of response, which is concerning to health care experts around the country.
More than 2.2. million American citizens (including children) are in prison, which makes up a quarter of the world's total prison population. With 43,000 kids in correctional centers nationwide, health experts have implored government officials to act on the behalf of citizen's health and safety.
Liz Ryan from Youth First Initiative, a Washington-based nonprofit, has decried leaders for not stepping up during a time of crisis: "It's clear that refusing to listen to public health experts has put our youth and communities at extreme risk."
Recently 30 correctional administrators urged prisons to release high-risk children and to improve the conditions for those housed in facilities, including setting up plans for future visitations between inmates and their families.
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