CHICAGO (CBS) — Six inmates and three staff members at Cook County Jail have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, sheriff’s officials said Wednesday.
The first two jail detainees who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week were being held in isolation at Cermak Health Services adjacent to the jail, where they have been housed since they first started exhibiting flulike symptoms on Friday.
On Sunday, the sheriff’s office announced a Cook County correctional officer who works at Cermak Health Services had tested positive for the virus.
It’s unclear if the new cases had been in contact with that original correctional officer who tested positive.
Cermak staff are testing anyone with flulike symptoms and are closely monitoring the detainees in the living units where the men who first tested positive were housed.
The sheriff’s office also noted the entire jail complex undergoes regular and comprehensive disinfecting, and all inmates have access to soap and water and know how to spot the virus.
Meantime, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has prepared a barracks facility on the site of the jail complex to be used as a hospital and/or isolation facility for inmates who test positive for the novel coronavirus. The barracks previously were used for an inmate bootcamp program, and now have a capacity of at least 500 beds away from the main jail complex.
Sheriff Dart has prepared barracks, previously used for an inmate bootcamp program, to be used as a hospital and/or isolation housing for detainees with COVID-19. The barracks have a capacity of at least 500 beds and are located away from Cook County Jail. pic.twitter.com/zhHITCyBdJ
— Cook County Sheriff's Office (@CCSOPIO) March 25, 2020