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Mass COVID-19 testing at Wilder Youth Development Center in Fayette County, TN

The mass testing comes after one youth and two security staff at the facility tested positive for the virus.
Credit: AP
In this Friday, April 17, 2020, photo, a vial used to collect a nose swab sample is put into a collection bag as members of a team of University of Washington medical providers conduct coronavirus testing at Queen Anne Healthcare, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Seattle. More than 100 residents were tested during the visit, and the results for all were negative, according to officials. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

FAYETTE COUNTY, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services is working with the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee National Guard to conduct a COVID-19 mass testing event Thursday morning at the Wilder Youth Development Center in Fayette County after results showed one youth and two security staff at the facility tested positive.

“We promptly requested the testing of all juveniles placed at Wilder, and the staff who work there, as we have previously done when positive results have come back at other youth treatment facilities,” Commissioner Jennifer Nichols said. “We have taken great precautions since the beginning of this pandemic to help stop the spread of COVID-19 into Wilder. That includes suspending all visitations, requiring all staff to undergo symptom and temperature checks prior to entry into the facility – even when they return from breaks, and supplying PPE to staff and youth.”

The one juvenile and two security staff who are positive were tested over the weekend after showing symptoms. All three had been contained to the same unit. The juvenile is quarantined and being treated and monitored by Wilder nurses. The security staff are quarantined at home. Two additional juveniles and two security staff members from a separate dorm on the campus also showed symptoms have been tested and results are pending. At this time, the cases are contained to two separate dorms on the campus.

Additionally, an administrative staff member, who does not interact with juveniles and who works in the separate administration building, tested positive and is quarantined at home.

Wilder is the only juvenile treatment facility operated by the Department of Children’s Services. It currently has a population of 109 juveniles and a total of 152 staff.

DCS is in the process of notifying the parents of all youth placed at the facility of the testing. The department will continue to follow protocol for screening and care of the youth and staff at the facility.

Wilder is a hardware secure youth treatment facility in Somerville, Tenn. that provides a residential mental health and behavioral treatment program for male youth age 13-19 who have been adjudicated delinquent and placed into state custody. The facility sits on 177 acres in and is comprised of 17 separate buildings including seven residential dormitories, a cafeteria, a school, a gymnasium, a chapel, a counseling center, a vocational center, a commissary and the administration offices.

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