NEW YORK, - The number of coronavirus infections among immigrants detained at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers has surged by 520 percent since the start of 2022.
On Thursday, 1,766 immigrants were being monitored or isolated at ICE detention facilities due to confirmed coronavirus infections, a more than sixfold jump from Jan. 3, when there were 285 active cases, CBS News reported, citing government statistics.
The number of detainees with active COVID-19 cases represents 8 percent of the 22,000 immigrants ICE is currently holding in its network of 200 detention centers, county jails and for-profit prisons, according to the report.
Since the outset of the pandemic, more than 32,000 immigrants have tested positive for the coronavirus while in ICE custody, and ICE has so far reported 11 coronavirus-related deaths of detainees, it added.
The recent surge in COVID-19 cases at ICE detention sites came amid the rapid nationwide spread of the Omicron variant, which has been found to be more transmissible than other strains of the virus.
An anonymous senior ICE official defended the agency's pandemic response, noting that it expected an increase in infections due to the Omicron variant, and requires immigrants to undergo testing and a 14-day quarantine upon entering a detention facility.
In a statement released on Friday, ICE said the coronavirus positivity rate in some of its detention facilities "is lower -- in some spots significantly lower -- than the local community because of the stringent testing and quarantine protocols in place."
Published : January 16, 2022