A Staff Member At A Facility Housing Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Has Tested Positive For The Coronavirus

Immigrant children outside the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Florida.

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A staff member at a facility housing unaccompanied immigrant children in New York has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement from an official with the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The agency, which is housed within the Department of Health and Human Services, oversees shelters across the country that hold unaccompanied immigrant children. These shelters then look to identify potential “sponsors” or family members in the US for permanent placement.

“ORR recently received a report that a staff member of a NY program tested positive for COVID-19. ORR has stopped all intakes at the facility, and is notifying any staff that may have been exposed,” said Mark Weber, a spokesperson for the agency. “ORR’s medical team is working with the affected program and will provide internal updates on any developments, and if there is a need for additional actions.”

Two unaccompanied children have tested negative for COVID-19, while two others who have been tested are still awaiting results.

There are more than 3,500 unaccompanied immigrant children currently in the custody of ORR.

The agency has seen no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the unaccompanied children in its care as of Thursday. ORR officials have suspended placing children in facilities in California and Washington and will now limit placements in New York. In addition, the agency is attempting to limit air travel and focus on local placements as much as possible, Weber said.

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  • Hamed Aleaziz is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

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