Major covid infection increases are being reported at overflowing immigration locations, where the numbers of migrants have nearly doubled in past months while captures at the border have also increased.
Over 7,500 new covid cases have been seen in these locations between April and last week, reports The NY Times, and comes while the Border patrol agency says over 26,000 illegals were being held in its centers last week, compared to the 14,000 from April.
Health officials report that few of the immigrants have been vaccinated against coronavirus, and say the overcrowded buildings are especially vulnerable to outbreaks.
The new cases make up over 40% of all the cases reported in ICE locations since the start of the pandemic, according to the NY Times.
Last year, the country’s prisons were also major outbreak centers, as one in three inmates were testing positive, which allegedly killed prisoners fast due to the crowded nature of prisons.
Meanwhile, according to ICE’s new data, only around 20% of the detainees going through the immigration locations had gotten the vaccine.
The centers are also not going along with coronavirus safety protocols, said Dr. Franco-Paredes, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine who has looked into the centers during the covid pandemic.
“There is little to no accountability about their protocols,” he said, who saw, during an inspection of a facility in Colo., that many of the staff were not wearing masks correctly. In addition, insufficient testing during transfers between locations are causing issues, he reported.
Meanwhile, ICE spokesperson Paige Hughes said all new arrivals are tested for covid and are kept in quarantine for 14 days when they get to the U.S.
“On-site professionals are credited with lowering the risk of further spreading the virus by promptly testing and isolating the infected detainees to stop the spread of the virus,” Hughes said.
However, health officials are reporting that detainees are being moved by bus to location before they are tested, and that they might be getting exposed while going on these trips. Over the previous year, prisons have also made this same mistake, leading to large groups of infections, The Times says.
Author: Steven Sinclaire