Contact tracers are scrambling to track down half of the dozens of juveniles released from the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre after a COVID-19 outbreak. Picture: Dan Peled
Contact tracers are scrambling to track down half of the dozens of juveniles released from the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre after a COVID-19 outbreak. Picture: Dan Peled

COVID authorities scramble to find missing juveniles

Authorities have been trying to track down dozens of former residents from the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre who have been released back into the community in recent weeks.

Police today confirmed they had located and tested half the juvenile detainees who had been discharged from the facility, with officials aiming to have the remaining youth found today.

It is understood the total number of former detainees health authorities have been trying to locate is in the several dozens, but fewer than 100.

There have been 202 results from staff at the Youth Detention Centre that have come back negative as well as more than 100 negative results from the young people.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said they would continue to test the remaining youth in the centre.

"I'm actually more concerned about the children who have left the centre," Dr Young said.

"Police have done a brilliant job over the last 24 hours going out across the state to find any of the youth who have been discharged from that facility since the 22nd of July.

"And we're gradually finding all of those and testing them.

"None of those youth have tested positive, which is really good news for across the state."

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says it is concerning only half of the juveniles released have so far been located and tested. Picture: Dan Peled
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says it is concerning only half of the juveniles released have so far been located and tested. Picture: Dan Peled

Dr Young said there were about 500 staff who worked at the centre, and that some worked in other workplaces.

Youth Justice director-general Bob Gee said the Wacol Youth Detention Centre would swap in an entirely new workforce.

"The young people are moving in and out of their cells in a very structured and targeted way so that they're not just in their rooms … doing activities like table tennis et cetera.

"Can I assure their families that they are getting the best support."

Police have located and tested "half" the juvenile detainees who had been released from the facility, with Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski aiming to have the remaining youths found today.



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