Part-time contractor for The Ohio Department of Youth Services tests positive for COVID-19

Part-time contractor for The Ohio Department of Youth Services tests positive for COVID-19
File photo. (Source: The Associated Press)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOIO) - A part-time contractor for The Ohio Department of Youth Services has tested positive for coronavirus, DYS confirmed Monday night.

This individual began telework on March 12 and has not been in a DYS building since that time. The last time the contractor entered a DYS correctional facility was February 13. They began experiencing symptoms on March 20 and was tested for coronavirus on March 23.

The individual is working closely with local public health and healthcare providers.

“DYS staff have worked hard to protect the health and safety of our staff and youth, in line with Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidance on COVID-19. We will continue to constantly monitor this situation and adjust as needed,” said DYS Director Ryan Gies in a released statement. “We are very grateful that our colleague is doing well.”

Because the contractor became symptomatic eight days after they worked at Central Office and several weeks after time spent in the facilities, Ohio Department of Health officials have stated that they believe it is unlikely that any youth or other DYS staff members could have contracted COVID-19 from this individual. No other staff or youth have developed symptoms.

DYS has implemented several measures to protect the health of its youth and staff during the coronavirus crisis, including restricting access to visitors and volunteers coming into the facilities (excluding medical personnel), conducting legal visits and Release Authority hearings via video conferencing, increasing access to phone calls between youth and their families, and requiring detention centers and community correctional facilities to screen youth 24 hours before transferring them to DYS.

The agency has also increased facility sanitizing schedules, implemented social distancing protocols for youth and staff, and waived facility rules banning alcohol-based sanitizer.

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