Update on COVID-19 Cases at Cook County Jail

Feb 26, 2021Press Release

At a time when jails and prison across the nation are still dealing with massive outbreaks of COVID-19, the Cook County Department of Corrections (CCDOC), with a population of over 5,400 individuals in custody, had a total of 13 individuals in custody positive for COVID-19 this morning.

Three of those 13 tested positive on intake. CCDOC currently has a 0.3 % seven-day rolling average positivity rate. Widespread testing has continued, with over 1,000 tests administered each week. Since March 2020, nearly 60,000 tests have been given to individuals in custody by our partners at Cermak
Health Services.

Encouragingly, the number of staff members positive for COVID-19 also continues to decline, with only 22 positive cases currently.

“By continuing to follow science and the protocols we put into place last year, we have once again flattened the curve”, said Sheriff Thomas J. Dart.

In a study published in the British Medical Journal earlier this month, researchers from Yale and Stanford universities concluded that the interventions the Sheriff’s Office enacted in the first 83 days after the first positive case was identified at the jail prevented an additional 30 deaths, 435 hospitalizations, and 3,100 cases of the virus.

Cook County Jail has previously been identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a model for jails and prisons, after researchers found the measures put into practice dramatically decreased the number of cases even as they continued to spike in the surrounding

The Sheriff’s Office will continue to look for new ways to prevent outbreaks of the virus despite the extremely low number of people currently positive for COVID at the jail, and staff are currently working on strategies to be able to test for new variants of the virus.

“COVID-19 is not an easy foe to defeat, and we must remain vigilant in our efforts to stop the spread of disease,” Dart said.