Three more children that West Virginia sent to live in out-of-state facilities have tested positive for COVID-19, the state Department of Health and Human Resources announced Friday.
Seven children in the state’s care have now tested positive for the coronavirus.
“None have been hospitalized,” DHHR spokeswoman Allison Adler wrote in an email Friday afternoon. “There are no reports of other children within West Virginia’s foster care system who have tested positive for COVID-19.”
The DHHR declined to say why the children were originally sent outside of West Virginia, or what states they were sent to. The department provided information about the new cases Friday without being asked first.
The DHHR hasn’t said when it learned of the first four cases. The department confirmed the initial positives earlier this month only after the Gazette-Mail asked about them. The newspaper learned of the positive test results from a judicial employee.
As of April, the DHHR reports it had 463 clients in out-of-state facilities. Of those, 241 were in what the department dubbed “group residential care,” while 72 were in long-term psychiatric facilities. Most of the others were in homes.
The DHHR’s definition of foster children includes all children in the department’s custody, including those who have been abused and neglected and those who have committed offenses, which can include truancy.
The definition doesn’t include the 231 youths under the separate custody of the state’s Bureau for Juvenile Services. Those children reside at in-state detention centers that are generally for more serious offenses.