DSS PRESS RELEASE


For Immediate Release
March 24, 2020

Contact: Rebecca Woelfel
573-751-4815


Youth in care at a Division of Youth Services facility in St. Louis tests positive for COVID-19

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – On Monday evening, the Department of Social Services, Division of Youth Services (DYS) Hogan Street Regional Youth Center received notice that a youth at the facility tested positive for COVID-19. A local hospital evaluated the youth’s condition and health care providers determined the youth could return to Hogan Street Regional Youth Center to recover.

"When a youth is placed in the care of the State of Missouri, it is up to us to do all we can to provide the essential care and support the youth needs, and most of all, protect that youth’s health and wellbeing," said Governor Parson. "When we received the news that a youth in DYS care tested positive for COVID-19, I was most concerned for that youth’s health and the safety of all youth at Hogan Street. I am confident DYS and its staff are doing everything they can to ensure the recovery of that youth and maintain a safe and healthy environment for all other youth and the staff providing care."

"We are focused on this youth’s recovery and maintaining a healthy, safe environment for not only Hogan Street youth and staff but for all youth and staff serving in DYS programs," said Jennifer Tidball, Acting Director, Department of Social Services.

DYS staff immediately quarantined and isolated the youth upon his return to safeguard the health of all other youth in care at Hogan Street. DYS and the Hogan Street team are in contact with the City of St. Louis Department of Health and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). To date here is what we are doing:

  • Today a special cleaning crew will begin cleaning the Hogan Street facility, using CDC and DHSS standards to ensure a safe and healthy environment.
  • The youth testing positive will continue to be quarantined and isolated from all other youth.
  • Youth will stay with their group and have no interaction with other groups.
  • We will discuss and practice to the extent practicable social distancing within a group.
  • DYS is following local public health guidance on staff serving youth in this facility.

DYS Hogan Street staff is calling the family of every youth in care at Hogan Street to advise them of the situation and what steps DYS is taking to protect the safety and health of their child. We want youth in care and their families to stay well connected, especially now. DYS staff is creating opportunities for youth to talk more frequently with their families to provide that reassurance both youth and their families need.

To protect the health and wellbeing of all youth in Division of Youth Services care, DYS suspended all outside visitors to DYS residential treatment facilities effective March 13, 2020. All day treatment facilities are on an extended spring break until April 6, 2020 and that timeframe is under evaluation. DYS is monitoring the health of staff entering the facilities and has put in place facility cleaning schedules.

DYS will continue to work with public health agencies to make sure DYS is doing everything necessary to keep youth and staff safe and healthy.

For updated information specific to the impact of COVID-19 on DSS programs visit https://dss.mo.gov/covid-19.

The mission of the Department of Social Services is to empower Missourians to live safe, healthy, and productive lives. Visit dss.mo.gov to learn more about the Department of Social Services and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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