SAN DIEGO (AP) — Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego was the site of the first big outbreak at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 221 detention centers.
The origins of the outbreak are uncertain, but in interviews with The Associated Press, workers and detainees reveal shortcomings in how the private company that manages the center handled the disease: There was an early absence of facial coverings, and a lack of cleaning supplies.
Symptomatic detainees were mixed with others. Some workers at the center quit; the Mexican consul general, responding to complaints from detainees, raised concerns about how the facility handled the outbreak.
One guard at the facility told the Associated Press employees were discouraged from wearing masks because it would frighten detainees and make them think they were sick.
According to ICE, there have been 168 detainees at Otay Mesa that have tested positive since the start of the outbreak. Four detainees are currently under isolation or monitoring and one detainee has died due to the virus.
ICE adds that 11 ICE employees have also tested positive at the facility.
More than 30 CoreCivic workers have tested positive, the AP reports.