A staff member at the Fairbanks branch of the State Office of Children’s Services and an inmate at the Fairbanks Correctional Center have tested positive for COVID-19.
OCS Parent and Family Advocate Tammie Wilson says the case was confirmed Tuesday, and the office was immediately closed.
"They've been working really closely with the safety team to work through the process. The process was to throughly clean the office; they had a professional service company come in.”
Wilson says the case confirmation occurred just as the Fairbanks office was reopening, following an extended pandemic caused closure. She says only a few staff had returned to the office, and on site in person parent-child meetings were just resuming, meaning there is the potential that others were exposed to the virus.
"Most of these workers, they come up, the children are the ones interacting in the room with the parents, and they are sitting outside, just making sure the visits go well.”
Wilson could not say whether any clients have been contacted about possible exposure.
"I'm not in the OCS office, but I cannot imagine that they did not notify anybody that they even potentially thought would have come into contact, that particular day. They are seeing very few, it is very limited, so they would know specifically who came in. Everything is by appointment.”
The OCS Fairbanks office is scheduled to reopen Thursday.
In addition to the cases reported on Wednesday, an inmate at the Fairbanks Correctional Center has tested positive for COVID-19. According to a Department of Corrections media release, that person was in quarantine when the positive test result came back. So, they expect exposure to other inmates and staff to be limited.
The inmate was screened as part of new measures in place at correctional facilities in the state — including testing of all newly remanded inmates that began on July 1. In addition to the testing, new inmates are also quarantined for 14 days before joining the general population of the correctional facilities, according to the release.
To date, the Department of Corrections has administered 1,268 tests with 964 negatives and 300 pending.