ICE says four detainees test positive for COVID-19 at Aurora

After voluntary testing earlier this month, ICE announces four confirmed cases

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Four detainees out of 481 tested at the Aurora Contract Detention Facility have returned positive results for COVID-19, according to a press release from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday.

“Expanded” COVID testing revealed four positive coronavirus cases at the facility — two in the current detained population and two new admissions found at intake, according to the release. Of the 481 total detainees at the facility, 427 produced negative test results, 49 declined to be tested and one “was inconclusive and is being readministered.”

Of the four positive cases, one detainee was “appropriately quarantined” and was transferred to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Another man was “already isolated” away from the general population of the facility, and he was admitted less than 14 days ago. The other two positive cases were discovered at intake and remain isolated from the rest of the detainees, according to the release.

“Current agency guidance encourages facilities to isolate new admissions into the detention network for 14 days before introducing them to the general population,” the release states.

Earlier this month, ICE began offering voluntary testing for detainees at the Aurora facility, one of only two sites with testing options in the country. The testing was offered to all current detainees and new admissions at the facility. The initial timeframe for the testing happened between June 9 and June 18. ICE uses molecular testing methods recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and technology approved by emergency authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to the release.

“ICE has taken numerous steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, but offering this voluntary testing shows how the agency is using all resources available to ensure the safety of our detained population,” said John Fabbricatore, field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations Denver.

The test results were discussed by health providers and the detainees, and voluntary testing will continue to be offered to those who declined to be tested previously. New admissions will continue to be offered tests, according to the release. To implement the “expanded testing” facilities must ensure that staff have personal protective equipment to ensure safe testing and operation plans to house detainees based on the results.

— Avery Martinez

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