COOK COUNTY, IL – In-person visitation at the Cook County Jail is scheduled to resume on Sunday, March 14, due to the low number of positive cases of COVID-19 at the jail and the continued decline of infection rates in the Chicago and Cook County, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.
More than 1,000 COVID-19 tests continue to be performed at the Jail each week, and on March 6th had only 3 individuals in custody COVID positive among the approximately 5,500 individuals in custody at the Jail, and the number of
positive cases each day has been less than 20 for the past two weeks.
In-person visits were initially suspended in March in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the community but resumed in June in an outdoor location on the jail campus using social distancing protocols and mandatory mask usage. In November, as case counts in the community sparked sharply upward, in-person visitations were again suspended to prevent the chance of transmission.
Starting Sunday, 30-minute visits can be scheduled on a new visitation app available on-line at https://dvv.ccsheriff.org/. At this time, only individuals in custody who have received the vaccine will be eligible for in-person visits, and individuals who are in quarantine or isolation are not eligible until they are medically cleared. Vaccinated individuals in custody are permitted two in-person visits per week, and the visits will be held outdoors in large tents. COVID-19 precautions will be observed, including temperature checks of visitors, and mandatory mask usage and social distancing during the visit. Video visitation opportunities will continue to be available to all individuals in custody.
The decision to resume in-person visitations is part of the Sheriff’s Office’s ongoing efforts to balance the need to protect individuals in custody and staff from COVID with the need to provide individuals in custody opportunities to maintain relationships with their loved ones.
Since the pandemic, the Sheriff’s Office has expanded the use of phones for individuals in custody and installed video visitation in every Division in the jail. At the same time, the Jail has been recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a model for how congregate living facilities can successfully combat COVID. Last month, a study by researchers from Yale and Stanford universities found that the interventions implemented at the Jail that exceeded public health recommendations prevented thousands of COVID-19 infections, hundreds of hospitalizations, and dozens of deaths in just the first three months of the outbreak.