News of the illnesses came after CoreCivic, the Nashville-based corrections company that operates Stewart, confirmed last week that two of its employees who work at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19. Stewart, which can hold up to 1,900 detainees, has detained people from more than 140 countries and nearly every continent.
The third detainee who tested positive, a 55-year-old Colombian national, is being held in the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla. As of Friday morning, he was among 50 ICE detainees across the nation who have tested positive for the disease.
ICE said it is working closely with “federal, state, and local agencies to facilitate a speedy, whole-of-government response in confronting Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), keeping everyone safe, and helping detect and slow the spread of the virus.”
Immigrant rights activists have called on ICE to free vulnerable detainees amid the pandemic. ICE said Friday that it is consulting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and reviewing cases of pregnant detainees, those who are 60 years old or older and others “who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19.”
As of March 30, 600 detainees have been identified as “vulnerable” and more than 160 have been released from ICE custody, according to the federal agency, which could not immediately identify the detention centers that freed them.