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News Update

Rising Covid-19 numbers among youth in California state detention centers

The number of active Covid-19 cases among young people incarcerated at state detention facilities has risen sharply in the last week — jumping from under 50 cases to 135, according to the Division of Juvenile Justice. This means that 42% of all Covid-19 infections among youth since the pandemic started are currently active cases.

Intake of all youth to the state facilities was suspended last week. The last time intake was suspended was at the onset of the pandemic. Family visitation was also suspended.

The sharp increase in infections mirrors the increase at adult jails across the state, which report 2,405 active cases among the inmates and 3,845 active cases among staff.

A staff vaccine mandate is currently in place for a group of select medical workers at the state’s four youth detention facilities. A mandate for all corrections workers that would have gone into effect this week was pushed back to at least March after the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the union that represents corrections workers, and Gov. Gavin Newsom requested a postponement for prison staff. An appeal hearing is scheduled for March.