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Influx Care Facility for unaccompanied children in Carrizo Springs, TX. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Nearly 2,900 unaccompanied minors tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival at U.S. government shelters over the past year — including around 300 currently in the system — a Department of Health and Human Services official tells Axios.

The big picture: The numbers highlight the staggering challenges in trying to manage a child migration crisis during a pandemic, while weighing human rights and child welfare concerns against immigration laws.

Details: Of the unaccompanied children currently in shelters, only about 3% are currently in isolation after testing positive when they arrived, according to the latest statistics provided to Axios.

  • About 7.4% of tests given to unaccompanied minors in the past year turned out positive, according to HHS' stats.
  • "The positivity rate in general is what was anticipated, and planning has resulted in robust response," HHS spokesperson Mark Weber told Axios. There are more than 200 facilities in 22 states.
  • But the positivity rate has been higher — about 10% — at the Carrizo Springs shelter in Texas, opened last month as the first overflow shelter to be used by the Biden administration.
  • Youth are tested upon arrival, Weber said, and those who test positive are taken to a negative-pressure medical isolation bed onsite and get around-the-clock care. Carrizo Springs has 180 nurses, doctors and medical personnel, 12 epidemiologists, and two public health experts.

By the numbers: Since March 24, 2020, 38,932 COVID-19 viral tests were conducted for unaccompanied children entering facilities.

  • There were 2,897 lab-confirmed COVID-19 tests for unaccompanied children in that time period — and 2,578 have recovered and were moved out of medical isolation — according to HHS.
  • Currently, 319 unaccompanied children are in medical isolation, while government data obtained by Axios puts the current number of kids in HHS shelters at more than 11,500.

What we're watching: After crossing the border, unaccompanied minors are first placed in border patrol stations for processing. Customs and Border Protection does not test migrants while in their custody, relying on local public health agencies, nongovernmental organizations and HHS.

  • Minors are only legally supposed to be held for a maximum of 72 hours in the border stations, but due to backlogs in HHS' system of shelters, thousands have been recently held longer than that.
  • Many border facilities are far beyond their pandemic capacity, and photos first reported by Axios reveal crowded, makeshift conditions in at least one temporary overflow shelter.

Go deeper: Houston Public Media has details on the situation in Texas.

Go deeper

Exclusive: Houston mayor to lead Black mayors group

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks during a private funeral for George Floyd. Photo: Godofredo A. Vásquez/Pool/Getty Images

The mayor of the city where George Floyd was raised is taking over a group that represents 500 Black mayors in the U.S. amid national pressure to revamp police departments.

Why it matters: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will become the new president of the African American Mayors Association as municipalities across the country examine police reforms and deal with the economic fallout from the pandemic.

Delivery industry sees biggest monthly job losses in more than 20 years

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic's biggest job winner is losing steam.

Driving the news: People who deliver packages to businesses and homes — classified as "couriers and messengers" by the Labor Department — saw the industry's biggest monthly job losses in more than 20 years in April.

FDA authorizes Pfizer COVID vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds

Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12- to 15-year-old adolescents, the agency announced on Monday.

Why it matters: The emergency authorization marks a critical milestone in the push to get more Americans vaccinated and fully reopen schools for in-person learning this fall.