Sheriff Dart Expands Precautionary Measures for COVID-19 at Cook County Department of Corrections

Mar 12, 2020Press Release

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today expanded precautionary measures at the Cook County Department of Corrections (DOC) to protect staff, the individual in custody population and the public from the spread of COVID-19.

While the DOC has no COVID-19 cases, these measures have been implemented to ensure the health and safety of everyone who enters the facility. 

  • All non-staff members, including visitors, vendors, volunteers, attorneys, and contractors, will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, including taking their temperatures. Anyone exhibiting symptoms will be denied entry and will be encouraged to seek medical attention.
  • The DOC is creating new receiving units where individuals in custody will be held for their first week in custody to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Those who show no symptoms after seven days will be moved to general population units.
  • Visits with individuals in custody will be limited to one person once a week for 15 minutes until further notice. In light of this restriction, the DOC will work to expand opportunities for individuals in custody to communicate with their loved ones by phone.
  • DOC staff have increased cleaning and sanitation efforts throughout the facility.
  • Cermak Health Services is educating individuals in custody about COVID-19 so they are able to report symptoms they may experience or observe. They are also being educated on how to stop the spread of infection through frequent handwashing and other good hygiene practices. 
  • Staff continue to work closely with our state and local partners and have asked all law enforcement agencies to screen individuals for symptoms before transferring them to the custody of the Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office has been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19, and incoming individuals in custody have been screened for flu-like symptoms since January 24. Our staff’s efforts to protect each other, the public, and the individuals in custody have been exemplary.