The Buffalo Detention Center has its first COVID outbreak since April, with the expectation that positive cases will rise dramatically in the next few days.
The outbreak includes 22 immigrants, with the first positive test coming Feb. 11.
According to Investigative Post, half of the 26 people detained in that section of the facility tested positive.
The outbreak prompted testing of all 180 detainees, with results for most expected by Friday.
Investigative Post, an online news service dedicated to investigative journalism, said the new details were part of a status report by U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. of Western District in Buffalo.
Kennedy submitted the report to District Court Judge Lawrence Vilardo.
“The initial detainee who tested positive on February 9, 2021 only left the B3 unit to attend immigration court, with all social distancing and COVID-19 safety protocols in place,” Kennedy wrote. “Another detainee from the B3 unit left the BFDF on February 3 and was taken to the Erie County Medical Center for a medical appointment. Both of these events occurred before the 2-3 days that experts generally believe elapse between the time of infection and the time of symptoms appearing. No other detainees in the B3 unit have been outside of the BFDF this month. No staff member at the BFDF who has had contact with any of the detainees in the B3 unit has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The BFDF is unaware of any immigration court personnel who have tested positive. It is unclear how this infection arose in the B3 unit at present. All staff continue to wear masks at all times while in the facility; masks remain available to all detainees. All requirements set forth by this Court are being adhered to.”
The interfacility cases are the first since April, when 29 detainees tested positive.
That prompted Vilardo to order stronger measures at the center to prevent the spread of COVID.