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Mexico identifies two women who may have received non-consensual surgeries in ICE detention

The finding is part of a larger Mexican investigation into allegations of improper medical care for detained migrant women at ICE’s privately-run Irwin Country Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia.

In a statement released during the weekend, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said one Mexican national received “a surgical intervention” that she did not authorize. The ministry specified that the operation was not a hysterectomy, and said she did not receive post-operative care. The woman also did not receive treatment for a hernia, the statement adds.

A second woman in Mexico allegedly underwent a gynecological surgery “without her full consent,” according to the Ministry, which did not specify the type of surgery. The statement says she did not “receive an explanation in Spanish of the medical diagnosis or the nature of the medical procedures that would be performed.” The government says it is “verifying” this case.

Reached for comment on Tuesday, ICE released a statement attributed to Acting Director Tony Pham that the allegations “raise very serious concerns that deserve to be investigated,” and are being reviewed by both the Office of Inspector General where the original whistleblower complaint was filed, and the Department of Homeland Security.

“If there is any truth to these allegations, it is my commitment to make the corrections necessary to ensure we continue to prioritize the health, welfare and safety of ICE detainees,” Pham said in the statement.

In September, Dawn Wooten, a licensed practical nurse formerly employed at Georgia’s Irwin County Detention Center filed a complaint raising concerns about an undetermined number of hysterectomies supposedly performed there, as well as alleged medical neglect.

At least 20 women have since been interviewed by Mexican officials as part of the ongoing investigation. According to an earlier statement by the Foreign Ministry, five women said they had “interactions” with a doctor who has been linked to allegedly improper surgeries.

Dr. Ada Rivera, medical director of the ICE Health Service Corps, has said in a statement that since 2018, only two individuals at the Irwin County Detention Center have been referred to certified, credentialed medical professionals at gynecological and obstetrical health care facilities for hysterectomies.

“Based on their evaluations, these specialists recommended hysterectomies. These recommendations were reviewed by the facility clinical authority and approved,” Rivera said, citing agency data.

Through a spokesperson, LaSalle Corrections, the company that operates Irwin facility, said in a statement that “all females in our care receive routine, age-appropriate gynecological and obstetrical health care, consistent with recognized community guidelines for women’s health services.”

LaSalle also mentioned the two cases cited by ICE’s Rivera as the only two referred to certified, credentialed medical professionals at gynecological and obstetrical health care facilities for hysterectomies in compliance with National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) standards.

According to the Ministry, Mexico’s consulate in Atlanta, Georgia is in contact with a lawyer for a possible class action lawsuit and “with the women who could be included in it, in order to explore legal channels that address the violation of their rights.”

Ontario reports 64 more school cases; Quebec identifies 933 new patients, the most since early May

On Thursday, Oct. 1, Quebec reported 933 new cases of COVID-19, the most in a 24-hour stretch since early May.

The update by Canada’s worst-hit province also included 126 new cases in schools that were identified in students and staff. Meanwhile in Ontario, 64 new infections in K-12 schools were reported, as its total province-wide case count increased by 538, which is part of a worrisome trend for the nation’s most populous jurisdiction.

For more on Thursday’s top stories, and on how the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the country, please refer to our live updates below, as well as our COVID-19 news hub and our live blog on the latest updates across Canada.

14,890 active COVID-19 cases in Canada: 160,265 diagnoses, 9,316 deaths and 136,080 recoveries (as of Oct. 1, 2 p.m. ET)

  • Alberta – 1,582 active cases (18,062 total cases, including 267 deaths, 16,213 resolved)

  • British Columbia – 1,284 active cases (9,138 total cases, 234 deaths, 7,591 resolved)

  • Manitoba – 621 active cases (2,029 total cases, 20 deaths, 1,388 resolved)

  • New Brunswick – 6 active cases (200 cases, 2 deaths, 192 resolved)

  • Newfoundland and Labrador – 2 active case (274 total cases, 3 deaths, 269 resolved)

  • Northwest Territories – 0 active cases (5 total cases, 5 resolved)

  • Nova Scotia – 2 active cases (1,088 total cases, 65 deaths 1,021 resolved)

  • Ontario – 4,975 active cases (52,248 total cases, 2,851 deaths, 44,422 resolved)

  • Prince Edward Island – 2 active case (59 total cases, 57 resolved)

  • Quebec –  6,277 active cases (75,221 total cases, 5,850 deaths, 63,144 resolved)

  • Saskatchewan – 139 active cases (1,913 total cases, 24 deaths, 1,750 resolved)

  • Yukon – 0 active cases (15 total cases, 15 resolved)

  • Nunavut – 0 active cases (7 presumptive positive cases)

  • CFB Trenton – 0 active cases (13 total cases, 13 resolved)

Ontario reports another 500-plus increase, 64 more school cases

Ontario reported 538 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, marking Thursday the fourth-straight day that the province has surpassed the 500-case mark. 

Before the recent stretch, Ontario hadn’t announced more than 500 cases in a day since May 2. 

The latest patients were identified after the province completed 39,646 tests, leading to a positive test rate of 1.4 per cent, which is one of its top five highest since June. 

Five-hundred and fifteen more people have recovered, while three have died (two involving long-term care residents) in the province’s latest 24-hour stretch. It leaves 4,975 active cases in Ontario, the most since April 29, when the province was at the peak of its first wave. 

Of the most recent cases, 229 were identified in Toronto, 101 in Peel, 66 in Ottawa, 43 in York, 13 in Durham and 13 in Waterloo. The remaining 28 public health units reported 10 or fewer cases, while 10 of them reported no new cases at all. 

The Ministry of Health also reported 64 new cases in schools. Of the most recent school cases, 29 involve students, 14 involve staff, while the other