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Mesa Verde Staff Member Tests Positive For COVID-19, ACLU Says

Mesa Verde Detention Center

Prisons and detention centers across California continue to be at risk for more COVID-19 outbreaks. An ACLU attorney representing detainees at the ICE processing facility in Bakersfield says a staff member there has tested positive for the virus.

In a case conference for a class action lawsuit against the Mesa Verde Detention Center, ICE’s attorney said a medical provider at the facility had tested positive for the coronavirus. That’s according to Angelica Salceda, an ACLU lawyer in the meeting. She said the woman went to get tested on her own accord. 

“So this was nothing that ICE had done. ICE did not test her. As far as we know ICE has not tested anybody at Mesa Verde,” Salceda said. 

Salceda said the woman was only identified as a medical provider, but ICE’s attorney did confirm she had been working at the detention center recently. 

“All they said was the employee had worked two days within the last week and that she had been wearing PPE during her interactions with detainees,” Salceda said. “So it was clear that she had been interacting with some detainees.”

The judge overseeing the lawsuit ordered ICE to provide a plan of action on how the facility will prevent the spread of the virus by June 22, according to Salceda. ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  


Madi Bolanos covered immigration and underserved communities for KVPR from 2020-2022. Before joining the station, she interned for POLITCO in Washington D.C. where she reported on US trade and agriculture as well as indigenous women’s issues during the Canadian election. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in anthropology from San Francisco State University. Madi spent a semester studying at the Danish Media and Journalism School where she covered EU policies in Brussels and alleged police brutality at the Croatian-Serbian border.
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