How the coronavirus spread through one immigration facility

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Gregory Arnold, a former guard at the Otay Mesa Detention Center, poses for a picture Tuesday, May 12, 2020, in San Diego. The early absence of facial coverings, lack of cleaning supplies and mixing symptomatic detainees with others preceded the first big outbreak at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 221 detention centers. While the point of origin is unclear, accounts of how the virus spread at the Otay Mesa Detention Center expose shortcomings and inherent difficulties of managing the world’s largest immigration detention system during a pandemic. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego was the site of the first big outbreak at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 221 detention centers.

The origins of the outbreak are uncertain, but in interviews with The Associated Press, workers and detainees reveal shortcomings in how the private company that manages the center handled the disease: There was an early absence of facial coverings, and a lack of cleaning supplies.

Symptomatic detainees were mixed with others. Some workers at the center quit; the Mexican consul general, responding to complaints from detainees, raised concerns about how the facility handled the outbreak.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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