Chesterton Tribune



Porter County Juvenile Detention Center confirms first virus case in detainee

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The Porter County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) confirmed its first COVID-19 case on Wednesday.

According to a statement released by Circuit Court Judge Mary DeBoer, the juvenile was one of four transported to JDC on Aug. 30.

“The youths went through the intake process to determine who should be detained,” the statement said. “One of the juveniles was released after being assessed by detention staff that same evening. The other three were held. Based upon information by the remaining juveniles, the Juvenile Detention Center staff immediately contacted the Porter County Health Department to have the youths tested for COVID-19 virus. One of the four tested positive but is asymptomatic and the other three tested negative for the virus.”

Since Aug. 30, one other juvenile has been released after his detention hearing, the statement said.

The Health Department is contacting the police department involved in the Aug. 30 incident as well as other relevant parties. “Further, the Health Department advised that any staff member who had more than 15 minutes of contact with the COVID-19 positive juvenile should be quarantined for 14 days,” the statement said. “There are six employees of the Juvenile Detention Center who are now at home on quarantine.”

“From the beginning of the pandemic, the Juvenile Services Center has taken the utmost care in preventing the spread of COVID-19 at its facility and among children and staff by implementing and following protocols established for that purpose,” the statement said.

“We could not have survived the pandemic without the diligence and dedication of the supervisors and staff in following the safety protocols created this spring to combat the risk of spreading the virus,” DeBoer said. She also emphasized that “this first case was brought into the center by a juvenile who needed to be detained.”

JDC has a dedicated quarantine area in the facility where detainees are placed for a minimum of seven days. “Each juvenile is housed separately and is brought out individually for hearings, Zoom visits, etc., wearing a mask,” the statement said. “The areas used by the juvenile are then sanitized before another juvenile is brought out. One staff member per shift is assigned specifically to the quarantined area of the detention center and the staff member is provided with PPE to protect him or her.”

There are currently eight juveniles being held at JDC. Six of them are in quarantine because they were only recently detained, and those six have had no contact with the other two.

The JDC direction is notifying the parents of the non-exposed juveniles.



Posted 9/4/2020




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