Two ICE detainees have confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses as of May 20, 2020. One of the detainees has been taken to a local hospital. No further information about his condition has been made public. He arrived at the GEO facility from Sterling State Prison, the site of one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado.
The other is currently in medical isolation. Prior to being put in isolation, he was housed with other detainees for at least four days after arriving to the GEO facility on May 14, 2020. The ten detainees he was previously housed with are being kept together, raising concerns that if one was infected, that person could be infecting others by being held in close quarters with them.
While ICE claims that the measures it has been taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in its facilities are consistent with CDC guidance, it continues to regularly bring new detainees into its facilities, despite CDC recommendations to halt transfers of incarcerated/detained persons unless absolutely necessary. At the Aurora facility, despite new detainees bringing COVID-19 into the facility within the past few weeks, ICE brought 45 detainees into the facility in the week leading up to May 20.
Nationally, as of May 22, ICE reports that 1,201 detainees have tested positive for COVID-19. This number almost certainly understates the scope of the crisis, as only 2,394 have been tested.
Joseph & Hall continues to believe that the heightened danger of contracting COVID-19 in a congregate detention center is unjustifiable. We are working to secure the release of clients in custody at Aurora ICE GEO through bonds, and requests to ICE for humanitarian release, and habeas petitions to federal courts.
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