COVID spike inside ICE facility in Virginia concerns immigration lawyers

Posted at 11:59 PM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-25 00:07:37-04

FARMVILLE, Va. -- Nearly 75 percent of people being held at a U.S. immigration facility in Virginia have the coronavirus, according to a recent CNN report. The infection rate has raised alarms among immigration lawyers and advocates who have repeatedly warned of deteriorating conditions at the Farmville Detention Center.

Of the 360 immigrants in custody at the Farmville Detention Center, there are 268 confirmed cases of coronavirus currently under isolation or being monitored, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) statistics.

That's an increase from just 49 cases a month ago.

Lawyers in Virginia believe the rise in cases is from ICE transferring detainees from other areas, according to the CNN report.

In early June, 74 detainees were transferred from Arizona and Florida to Farmville. Those detainees were not quarantined. Of those detainees, 51 eventually tested positive, the report indicated.

ICE told CNN it does not deliberately move detainees who have tested positive for coronavirus between detention facilities , but added there have been some instances where positive cases have been transported by ICE.

They also said medical checks are done twice daily, including a temperature screening and medication disbursement.

Leaders with the National Immigration Project told CNN they were working to make things better for those inside the facility.

COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.