Feds explain how high-risk detainees in Battle Creek protected from COVID-19

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Facing a lawsuit aiming to get immigration detainees who are at high risk of developing a serious case of COVID-19 out of jail, the federal government says it is increasing some more protocols to help mitigate spread.

Detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are held at the Calhoun County Correctional Facility. The jail is now seeing a COVID-19 outbreak in a unit that houses immigrants, with 24 inmates testing positive.

The American Civil Liberties Union is now working to free more of those detainees, specifically those at high risk for COVID-19 complications. A hearing on the suit was held Monday, at which point the federal government was ordered submit information about how it’s protecting those high-risk inmates.

In a memo filed with the court Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office explained that ICE classifies detainees as high-risk based on guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has already been sending a list of those detainees to the ACLU, but added it will now ensure the same list goes to Calhoun County officials.

The memo goes on to say that high-risk detainees will be held in a separate part of the jail and each will get his own cell. They’ll also be tested for the virus every other week.

Everyone at the jail will be required to wear a mask in common areas, and high-risk detainees will get a new mask every day.