Number of People Possibly Affected by Positive COVID-19 Test Almost Doubles in Just Two Days
From an October 26th press release from La Resistencia (formerly NWDC Resistance)
After another employee at the now-infamous Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) tested positive for COVID-19, a quarantine inside the facility extends to a third living unit. On Friday, October 23, 2020, unit C-1, holding thirty-eight people, joined a quarantine begun the day before for units A-3 and C-3 inside the facility. Initially, these two living units that together cage about forty-five people were placed in quarantine because they very likely came into contact with someone positive for COVID-19. The quarantine in the facility began after an employee who possibly came into contact with these units tested positive last week for the highly contagious virus. This is the second employee in less than a month to test positive for COVID-19. Additionally, in both units A-3 and C-3, at least one detained person was removed from each unit and sent to the medical unit inside the facility preceding the mandatory quarantine.
People detained inside all three units and now quarantined were given no information about the status of the persons removed from those two units. When persons in unit A-3 asked to be tested for the Coronavirus out of fear for their health and well-being and concern for those around them, their requests were denied by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Geo (the for-profit company that runs this ICE facility). Yet, in a curious and troubling about-face the following day, ICE sought to test people detained in unit A-3 on Saturday, October 24, 2020. It is unclear if this change is a result of increasing evidence of positive cases in the facility.
Upon learning of the expanded quarantine inside the NWDC, which now includes over eighty detained people, community organizer, Maru Mora Villalpando declared, “In just two days, the number of caged people in quarantine at NWDC due to possible exposure to COVID-19 has nearly doubled. COVID-19 cannot be contained inside the facility.” She continued, “ICE has the power to release all these detained people back to their families rather than jeopardize their lives while hiding the deadly conditions inside its facilities from the public. Like the administration they work for, ICE appears more concerned about hiding the virus’s effects instead of addressing its dangerous reality.”
La Resistencia (formerly NWDC Resistance) is a grassroots collective led by undocumented immigrants and U.S. citizens based in Tacoma, Washington. It is an unincorporated association founded to confront human rights violations at the Northwest Detention Center and dedicated to ending the detention and deportation of immigrants.
Maru Mora Villalpando, Latino Advocacy
La Resistencia www.nwdcresistance.org
Cover art by Anthony Sanchez, formerly incarcerated at NWDC and later deported