CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – A total of 25 young people at Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Officials say the youth who have tested positive have received around-the-clock medical care from the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice’s chief physician, nurse practitioner, and a team of licensed nurses in a separate area of the facility.
“Of the 25 Bon Air residents who have tested positive, I’m pleased to report that 21 exhibited no outward symptoms, and only four had symptoms that were no more severe than a cold or flu,” said DJJ Chief Physician Dr. Christopher Moon. “Any resident who tested positive was immediately placed in medical isolation. Thirteen of those residents have already been released from medical isolation per Virginia Department of Health (VDH) guidelines.”
“We’ve been working closely with the Bon Air JCC by providing recommendations to address the spread of the virus in their facility,” said Dr. Alexander Samuel, Health Director of the Chesterfield Health District.
DJJ Director Valerie Boykin says the department had previously declined to release the number of youth who tested positive for COVID-19 to protect the privacy of their underage residents.
“This practice was in line with other youth-serving agencies in the Commonwealth and other juvenile justice agencies across the country,” said Boykin. “Over the past two weeks, we have begun to see some of these agencies reconsider such policies. As the number of cases has risen, DJJ believes the privacy of individual residents can be protected.”
Officials say residents are now screened for the virus two times per day and are tested if exhibiting “the slightest hint” of symptoms.
A spokesperson says Bon Air is following Virginia Department of Health protocols for notifications and CDC protocols for safety and cleaning.
Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center is a 284-capacity facility serving a coed population age 11-20 who have been committed by the juvenile court.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.