Asylum seekers test positive for coronavirus

Rows of tents are clustered near the Gateway International Bridge in Matamoros, Mexico. Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

In Matamoros, medical NGO Global Response Management confirmed in a press release on Tuesday that one patient living in the camp of 2,000 asylum seekers near the Gateway International Bridge has tested positive for COVID-19. The organization’s executive director later reported that three camp residents had tested positive for antibodies.

“As of 6/30 we have 5 patients in isolation, 2 who are awaiting results of testing and 3 who have tested positive on antibody testing. We are continuing to contact trace and isolate as appropriate,” Perry wrote.

“As of today, we have done 344 tests and have had 9 positive results (only 3 of whom were residents of the camp)”.

The organization’s staff of doctors and nurses, most of whom are asylum seekers themselves, has since February implemented a prevention, fortification, and treatment strategy that has largely kept the camp virus-free.

Measures include preventative education, mask wearing, the construction and distribution of 88 hand washing stations, the implementation of sanitation strategies in common areas, tent spacing, and temperature checks at the camp entrance conducted by Mexico’s National Institute of Migration (INM).

Camp residents have been distributed multivitamins containing Vitamin D and Zinc, and those at high risk of serious illness if infected have been identified. GRM’s 20-bed field hospital is still up and running and has the capacity to treat mild and moderately-ill COVID-19 patients, according to the press release.