Over the past year, there have been more than 2,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases among unaccompanied minors at the U.S. border as the situation intensifies, Fox News confirmed on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services told Fox News that since March 24, 2020, there have been 2,897 lab-confirmed positive cases among unaccompanied minors. Currently, about 319 unaccompanied children remain in medical isolation after testing positive.
According to HHS data, about one in 10 youth are testing positive for the virus upon arrival.
None of the children who tested positive for the virus have required hospitalization and the vast majority have recovered and have been moved from medical isolation.
“The positivity rate in general is what was anticipated and planning has resulted in robust response,” an HHS spokesperson said in a statement. “Site staff are COVID-19 vaccinated, thoroughly trained on CDC protocols for donning and doffing PPE, and required to wear fit-tested masks and other CDC-recommended PPE at all times.”
The spokesperson added that the minors are supervised at all times and they do not attend local public schools.
While migrants continue to flood the country’s southern border, capacity at temporary holding facilities has become stretched after the Biden administration said it would no longer expel unaccompanied minor children last month.
Over the last three weeks alone the number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S. border without their parents has reached an average of 550 per day, according to data reviewed by The Washington Post. Border officials are on track to take in an all-time high of more than 17,000 minors this month, the publication pointed out.
More than 16,500 unaccompanied minor children are in U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Health and Human Services custody, according to data obtained by Fox News.
The administration has taken sharp criticism for appearing to be unprepared for the surge of unaccompanied children.
The government has been working with FEMA as it seeks out additional holding facility sites to support the steady stream of unaccompanied children, including the San Diego Convention Center, which will serve as an overflow site with the capacity to house 1,400 migrant children.
On Wednesday night, a Pentagon spokesperson said the Department of Defense put in a request to temporarily house unaccompanied children at a vacant dormitory at Joint Base San Antonio in Lackland, Texas, and an area of land in Fort Bliss. The spokesperson noted that neither military training nor readiness would be negatively affected.
While the administration refuses to characterize the situation at the U.S. border as a “crisis,” it was announced on Wednesday that Vice President Kamala Harris would lead the White House’s response to the situation.