Update on COVID-19 Cases at Cook County Jail

Mar 24, 2020Press Release, Uncategorized

As part of its ongoing effort to inform the public of measures being taken to combat the spread of COVID-19 within the Cook County Department of Corrections (DOC), the office will provide regular updates on the number of individuals in custody who have been confirmed positive, the number confirmed negative, and the total number tested.

On March 23, the Sheriff’s Office announced that two individuals in custody had been confirmed positive.

As of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, a total of 28 individuals in custody in DOC custody have been tested for COVID-19 after showing flu-like symptoms.

Of those:

  • 3 individuals in custody have tested positive (this includes the two individuals previously diagnosed as positive).
    • The most recent confirmed case is a 47-year-old man who is currently being treated at a local hospital. The individual in custody has been in custody since October 2018 for residential burglary.
  • 1 individual in custody has tested negative.
  • 24 individuals have pending test results.

Additionally, two Department of Corrections staff have been confirmed positive with COVID-19.

Cermak staff are closely monitoring the individuals in custody on the living units where these individuals were housed, and will test any individuals in custody who are symptomatic.

The entire jail compound continues to undergo regular, comprehensive cleaning and disinfecting. All individuals in custody do have access to soap and water.

Staff have been educated on how to spot and report symptoms of the virus.

Sheriff Dart has instituted a number of measures at the jail to prevent the spread of the virus such as suspending individual in custody visits, creating housing tiers for new individuals in custody booked at the jail where they are observed for seven days for symptoms of the virus. Sheriff Dart has also acquired the assistance of Harry Grenawitzke, a nationally recognized environmental health expert and our former Department of Justice monitor.

Earlier this month, in anticipation of what was happening around the country, Sheriff Dart readied barracks formerly used for an individual in custody bootcamp program to be opened as additional isolation housing for individuals in custody if needed. The bootcamp, which is located away from the main jail campus, has a capacity of 500 beds and will serve to relieve pressure on Cermak Hospital.

The Sheriff’s Office is prepared to respond in the event additional staff or individuals in custody become ill with COVID-19.

For more information and updates on COVID-19, please check our website: https://www.cookcountysheriffil.gov/category/press-release/