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CDC Medics Arrive at Farmville ICE Detention Center

man examining slide
The Centers for Disease Control is sending technicians, doctors to assist people detained at an ICE facility in Farmville, Va. (Photo: James Gathany/CDC)

Medical personnel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention arrived in Farmville Monday to address what has become the largest coronavirus outbreak at an immigration detention center in the United States.

According to a spokesperson for Gov. Ralph Northam, a ten person team of clinicians, laboratorians and epidemiologists is working with the local Piedmont Health Department to test detainees and employees at the Farmville detention center and assess the facility’s infection control and prevention practices.

The CDC intervened after Immigrations Centers of America in Farmville, which is privately-owned, turned down testing assistance from the Virginia Department of Health on two separate occasions.

On Wednesday, a Canadian man died in the custody of the Farmville facility after testing positive for the coronavirus. He had been transferred to the center in April, and an immigration judge had ordered his return to Canada in May.

Of the 288 people currently detained in the Farmville facility, 259 have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday. That’s about 90 percent of the center’s detained population. Nearly 50 new cases of the coronavirus were reported over the weekend.

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