ICE detainee dies of COVID at South Florida hospital — the state's first immigration death

©Miami Herald

Foreign nationals at the Krome detention center in Miami in September 2015. An immigration detainee died this week of coronavirus at a Palm Beach County hospital. - Jose A. Iglesias/Miami Herald/TNS

MIAMI — A 51-year-old immigration detainee died Sunday at a Palm Beach County hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus. The Mexican national’s death is Florida’s first reported COVID-19 death of a detainee.

The detainee — identified by U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement late Monday as Onoval Perez-Montufa — was transported to a hospital about two weeks ago from the Glades County Detention Center in Moore Haven, a facility that is now among the top 10 centers with the highest number of COVID cases.

Officials say he was pronounced dead at 4:27 p.m. by hospital staff at the Lakeside Medical Center in Belle Glade, where he had been receiving inpatient treatment since July 1 after reporting shortness of breath. He tested positive for the virus the following day at the hospital.

Perez-Montufa, who had been in ICE custody since June 15 and was in the process of being deported, is the third reported ICE detainee to die from the coronavirus in the country.

As of Monday, Glades has reported 116 COVID-19 cases, while the Krome Processing Center in Miami-Dade has reported 61 and the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach has tallied 32.

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©2020 Miami Herald