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Sixteen juvenile detainees tested for COVID-19 after being released from quarantine

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sixteen detainees at the Shelby County Juvenile Detention Center have been released from quarantine after coming into contact with a jailer who tested positive for COVID-19.
“None of those individuals have exhibited signs and symptoms of COVID,” said Dr. Alisa Haushalter, director of the Shelby County Health Department.
Haushalter said Friday the 16 juveniles would be tested for COVID-19 out of an abundance of caution, even though the health department wasn’t originally planning on testing them.

“Based on the Centers for Disease Control guidance, individuals who are quarantined aren’t routinely tested," she said. "You are monitoring the individual throughout the quarantine period, and if they exhibit signs and symptoms, then we generally will test at that time."
Still, some worry about the 59 juveniles who remain in jail.
“When court hearings are not being scheduled, the people who are in detention awaiting those hearings aren’t moving,” Josh Spickler with Just City said.
To combat the spread of the coronavirus, juveniles' jailers are now required to wear masks.
Before they even set foot in the building, they must also submit to daily temperature checks and a series of questions.
“Employees and vendors who have recently traveled to coronavirus epicenters or are symptomatic are denied entry into the juvenile court detention center,” Lt. Anthony Buckner with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said April 1.
But Spickler said Shelby County should consider releasing low-risk inmates to reduce the jail population and potentially limit the spread of COVID-19.
“We’ve seen that in other states; we’ve seen that at the federal system," Spickler said. "That is a good, hard look at the people who are in detention and then look again and then look again."
The sheriff’s office said the infected jailer remains at home recovering. It’s too soon to know when he or she will return to work.
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