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Over 250 unaccompanied minors being held in Texas federal migrant shelters have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Texas Health and Human Services data.

The positive cases make it difficult to quickly and safely process the children and teens arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Hundreds of additional migrant children are being impacted by the positive tests. At least 37 of 44 facilities in Texas have reported positive COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks. That impacts 258 children in shelters overseen by both Texas Health and Human Services and the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Due to social distancing measures, four new temporary shelters have opened in Texas alone. Those shelters are to hold unaccompanied minors opened in Dallas, Carrizo Springs, Midland and Pecos.

Officials are also looking to open additional shelters including sites on military bases in Lackland and Fort Bliss.

Positive COVID-19 tests are not a new problem for migrants coming into the U.S. Over 38,932 COVID-19 tests have been conducted for unaccompanied children entering facilities since March of last year.

A Department of Health and Human Services official told Axios that of those tests, nearly 2,900 unaccompanied minors tested positive for coronavirus upon arrival at U.S. government shelters. 

Only about 3% of the unaccompanied minors currently being held in shelters are currently in isolation after testing positive upon arrival across the border. There are 319 unaccompanied minors in medical isolation, while the total number of children in shelters on the border is over 11,500.

Written ByHaley Weger

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