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Adelanto Has Largest Current COVID-19 Outbreak Among ICE Detention Centers In the Country

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The coronavirus outbreak at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in San Bernardino County has continued to grow. As of this morning there were 147 immigrant detainees being monitored or in isolation with COVID-19, all of them having tested positive.

The outbreak is now the largest active outbreak among immigration detention centers across the country, according to data posted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The facility currently holds about 750 people, a spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.

Between Sept. 14 and last Tuesday afternoon, 16 Adelanto detainees had been hospitalized due to COVID-19 related reasons, according to a court filing by Gabriel Valdez, assistant field office director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in Los Angeles. Eleven of those detainees have been discharged from the hospital.

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Thirty-one staff members had also tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, but none had been hospitalized, Valdez said.

In April, the ACLU sued the federal government to reduce the population at the detention center to allow for social distancing. The case had been pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but was sent back to the lower court amid the growing outbreak.

On Sept. 29, U.S. District Court Judge Terry J. Hatter ordered ICE to not accept any new or transferred detainees at the facility.

Hatter also ordered the government to test all detainees who agree to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis, and to submit a population reduction plan for the facility.

According to the Judge’s order, the outbreak likely started in early September, and medical experts in the case believe the outbreak was “most likely” caused by a staff member who went into work at Adelanto with a COVID-19 infection.

But because contact tracing hadn’t been complete, the source of the outbreak hasn’t been identified yet, Judge Hatter wrote.

ICE detention centers around the country have been hit hard by COVID-19. In May, a 57-year-old man from El Salvador held at a detention center in San Diego became the first ICE detainee to die from the virus.


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