Juvenile detainees screened for COVID-19 upon entering JSC

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Due to the pandemic there have been some changes in how the Western South Dakota Juvenile Services Center operates. Kids brought in must have their temperature taken and then they’re quarantined for 72 hours to ensure they are not positive for the coronavirus.

When a minor breaks the law they are transported to the Juvenile Services Center. During the COVID-19 pandemic, extra precautions ensure the safety of both staff and detainees. Once inside their temperature is taken and they are asked some pre-screening coronavirus questions.

“If they don’t have a temp and all the answers to the questions are no, I will proceed with the intake” said Sgt. Jolonda Ricke of the Juvenile Services Center. “The youth will be given a mask to wear, he will be given hand sanitizer so we can make him as germ free as possible before he enters.”

In accordance with CDC recommendations, new intakes are placed in a holding cell for 72 hours to ensure they are not sick or showing symptoms of the coronavirus. The testing at JSC doesn’t stop at the door if you leave for any reason such as a medical appointment, you will be tested when you come back into the facility.

Joe Guttierez, Commander of the Western S.D. JSC said “If they exhibit some of the symptoms with COVID then we can do a screening process up to 14 days as well, again for the safety of the juveniles coming in. The safety for the juveniles who are here and for staff as well, so by implementing some of those practices we wanna make sure everybody is safe.”

So far 32 juveniles have entered the facility under these new guidelines, none have shown symptoms or tested positive for the coronavirus.


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