People Detained At Mesa Verde Are Experiencing Severe COVID-19 Symptoms, Advocates Say

Aug 11, 2020

At least 10 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at the ICE Processing Facility in Bakersfield as of Monday, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Advocates say the people detained are not getting proper medical attention.

Christian Orellana, 22, contracted the virus in late July. On Saturday, he fainted at Mesa Verde. His lawyer, Ambar Tovar with the Defense Project in Bakersfield, said officials sent him to his bed even though she asked that a doctor examine him. 

“I insisted that a medical doctor needed to see him, that it was not sufficient to have a nurse take his vitals because he has complained of difficulty breathing,” Tovar said. 

Tovar said ICE officials told her he was being monitored by nurses in the medical unit at Mesa Verde. The next day another person detained started experiencing severe symptoms. 

“We felt it was a medical emergency and called 911 to send over an ambulance to Mesa Verde; however, they were denied entry,” Tovar said.

Three out of the four dorms at Mesa Verde are now in quarantine, according to Tovar. In a statement, ICE said it is taking the proper protocols to ensure the safety of those detained in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines.