A New York City resident has tested positive for COVID-19 while being held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at the Bergen County Jail. The detainee tested positive on Tuesday and the unit went under lockdown shortly after, according to someone with knowledge of the situation inside the jail.
“A detainee did test positive and is currently placed in isolation and is under daily monitoring by the medical staff,” Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton said.
ICE also confirmed the positive test and that prior to being detained the person lived in New York City, not New Jersey. This is the eight positive case in the facility, according to ICE data, which has not been updated yet to reflect the detainee’s positive status.
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In recent weeks, over 140 people have participated in hunger strikes in Essex and Hudson county jails to push for their release over fears of contracting the COVID-19 virus, according to the Abolish ICE NY-NJ coalition. In 2020, there were two hunger strikes in the Bergen County Jail where the immigrant detainees demanded their release over fears of contracting the virus.
Lawyers and advocates say hunger strikers have been transferred to other facilities in Buffalo, South Florida and Texas because of their hunger strikes, or put in solitary confinement.
As of Wednesday, just five immigrant detainees are continuing their hunger strikes at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, N.Y.