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State Monitoring COVID Cluster At Plymouth Youth Residential Facility

This post was updated with new information on Nov. 2.

A youth residential facility in Plymouth is dealing with a cluster of COVID-19 cases.

As of Monday,the state's coronavirus data dashboard repoted 19 active cases. A spokesman for the state health department says the latest number reflects ten cases among academy staff and nine cases among youth.

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According to its website, Mount Prospect Academy’s Plymouth campus provides schooling, treatment, and housing to 11 to 19-year-olds involved in the juvenile justice system or placed by child protective services.

On Friday, Mount Prospect Academy Director of Operations John Fulp said he could not share any specifics on the outbreak, but he was working closely with the state health department to conduct contact tracing.

“We are still working with DPH [the state Division of Public Health Services] to figure out exactly the extent of what we're dealing with,” he said.

So far, the state's residential facilities for young people have reported relatively few coronavirus cases. Officials at those facilities have said they follow strict screening protocols and quarantine all incoming youth. At Mount Prospect Academy, youth are required to have a negative test as extra precaution.

But many staff members live off campus and come and go on a daily basis. The town of Plymouth is currently seeing a spike in coronavirus cases, with 31 current cases listed on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Moira O’Neill, the Director of the New Hampshire Office of the Child Advocate, said the state should only be placing kids in group homes as a last resort, given the possibility of transmission.

“We have been encouraging the Division of Children, Youth, and Families since March to get kids out of a congregant setting,” she said.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.

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