Unaccompanied immigrant children being held in a U.S. refugee agency in New York have been confirmed to have the COVID-19 disease. These three cases are the first such cases if immigrant children in government custody.
Because of the three confirmed cases, the agency is suspending releases from the facility. Detainees who were before told they could leave will now have to stay in the facility in an effort to reduce spread.
Although three children tested positive, there were 18 children tested. 11 have tested negative, while the other four are still waiting for results.
This diagnosis comes just days after attorneys urged the agency to release unaccompanied children due to the risks of housing more than ten individuals at a time, citing that the facility will be a high risk area for the disease.
In a statement from the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law, they noted that “as the number of documented cases of COVID-19 rises, the CDC, state health authorities, and epidemiologists all urge safety precautions that are difficult, if not impossible, to observe in facilities housing more than ten individuals at a time, including social distancing. Many children in custody live, eat and sleep in close proximity.”