Virginia governor, senators request CDC aid with coronavirus outbreak at immigrant detention facility

Virginia governor, senators request CDC aid with coronavirus outbreak at immigrant detention facility
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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election US intelligence says Russia seeking to 'denigrate' Biden GOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe MORE (D) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineEx-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets USAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal MORE (D) requested aid from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in response to a coronavirus outbreak in an immigration detention facility.

Northam, in a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE last week obtained by The Washington Post, requested CDC intervention at the privately owned facility in Farmville. Immigration advocates have called the facility a “tinderbox.” At least 262 detainees there have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Post.

Immigrant rights groups have sued over the outbreak, which is the largest at any such facility nationwide, with more than triple the cases of the runner-up. Seven detainees have been hospitalized, and all but one have since been discharged, according to the state health department.

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“Virginians in congregate housing, such as the Farmville facility, are especially vulnerable to COVID-19,” Northam said in the letter, a copy of which the newspaper obtained this week. “To ensure the safety of those who live and work in the Farmville Detention Center, as well as the surrounding community, I request that the CDC respond to and assess the situation at the facility.”

Alena Yarmosky, a spokeswoman for Northam’s office, told the Post that eight staffers who were tested outside the facility have also tested positive. She said the CDC has indicated to the governor’s office that it is willing to assist with the outbreak. The Hill has reached out to the CDC for comment.

In a separate joint statement Wednesday, Warner and Kaine called the state of the facility a “dire situation.” The outbreak, they said, “presents a clear risk to individuals within the facility, but also endangers the broader community as facility staff and released detainees have interaction with the general public.”

“The Farmville [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] facility and surrounding community now face a dire situation where almost every detainee at the Farmville facility has tested positive for COVID-19,” they said.