Cook County Jail temporarily suspends in-person visitation due to COVID-19 surge in Chicago-area

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Cook County Jail is temporarily suspending in-person visits, the Cook County Sheriff's Office announced Sunday.

Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Chicago and Cook County, and in light of the current stay-at-home advisory, the Cook County Department of Corrections (CCDOC) will halt in-person visitations as of Monday, according to a press release.

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Between new inmates entering facilities and employees coming and going, prisons are a breeding ground for the virus.

In June, the Cook County Jail was one of the first jails or prisons to re-instate in-person visitation, the release stated. For months, the facility utilized an outdoor, socially distant setting where all visitors could be screened and their temperatures checked before meeting with their loved ones who are in custody.

However, the current test positivity rate for Chicago and Cook County has prompted the temporary suspension.

"While CCDOC has had great success containing the virus, given the strong encouragement by state and local health officials to promote staying at home and the current test positivity rates in the community, this temporary modification will help protect the health and safety of staff and detainees," the release said.

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Jail staff, in close coordination with our partners at Cermak Health Services, continue to combat the virus through, what they say, are proven interventions such as social distancing, limited movement, and aggressive testing protocols, according to the sheriff's office.

Video visitation will continue to be available to detainees, and in-person visitation will be reinstated soon as they feel it is safe to do so.

The video featured is from a previous report.
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