Population of L.A. County juvenile facilities reduced by 30% amid coronavirus concerns

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The Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar is shown in this undated photo. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar is shown in this undated photo. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The population of juvenile halls and camps in Los Angeles County was reduced by over 30% amid ongoing concerns over the coronavirus, Ray Leyva, acting chief of the county’s probation department announced Monday.

The agency has also taken a number of other measures to ensure the safety of youths during the pandemic.

So far, there have been no cases of COVID-19 among youths in juvenile facilities, though there are 16 cases of probation staff testing positive, including six who work at youth facilities, Leyva said.

All who tested positive are “doing well,” Leyva said during the county’s daily news briefing Monday.

Dozens of youths were quarantined after the staff members tested positive, officials said.

The probation department recently got the approval to release 66 youths and the agency is working to evaluate more cases for possible release.

The agency has implemented several precautions to make sure staff and youth stay healthy, Leyva said.

Officials are working to find more places within facilities to safely isolate and quarantine youths if need be. Gatherings, including at meal times, were limited. Visitation at juvenile halls and residential treatment facilities have been suspended, and daily cleanings and sanitation measures were increased.

And because visitations were suspended, the department is considering extending phone privileges to youth by allowing video conferencing or extended phone time, Leyva said.

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