A second worker at the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar tested positive for coronavirus, and 22 youths have been quarantined but are not showing any symptoms, the Los Angeles County Probation Department announced Monday.
According to the county, the employee last worked at the facility on Sunday and is quarantined at home.
The Probation Department “will be sanitizing the entire housing unit to reduce any chance of additional exposure to youth and staff,” according to a statement issued by the county agency.
County officials last week confirmed that an employee at the facility had tested positive, and 21 youths possibly exposed to the worker were placed in quarantine.
The Probation Department suspended visitation at its juvenile halls and residential treatment facilities in mid-March to reduce the possible spread of the virus. It also closed all of its offices to the public.
Late last month, the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Sylmar courthouse was closed for three days because a deputy public defender tested positive for the virus. All affected judges and staff at the facility were told the self-quarantine for 14 days.
Probation officials said Monday the agency “is doing its best” to provide personal protective equipment to protect staff and youth at its facilities.
The Youth Justice Coalition, Homeboy Industries, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and dozens of other criminal justice groups have been pressing probation officials and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to immediately release all juveniles held in halls and camps on misdemeanors, low-level felonies and “technical” probation violations.
The groups are also calling on law enforcement officials not to detain any minors on new charges that fall into these categories and asking courts to act more quickly to assess and arraign cases.
On Tuesday at noon, the Youth Justice Coalition is planning a car rally on Temple Street between the Hall of Justice and the Clara Shortridge Foltz Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles to draw attention to the issue.
An online forum is also scheduled for Wednesday with officials, according to a release from the YJC to its members.