Illinois Coronavirus: Cook County Jail reports first positive coronavirus tests

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The first set of positive coronavirus tests were reported Monday at Cook County Jail.

The jail started screening incoming prisoners for COVID-19 in January, and managed to keep the facility clean until now.

"We had a correctional officer test positive, two detainees test positive early this morning for COVID-19 as well," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. "We have another 25 detainees that we are having tested for COVID-19 as we speak now."

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Both positive prisoners are currently in the Cermak Hospital medical wing of the jail while authorities try to figure out who else they may have been in contact with. Cook County Jail has a population of 5,427 prisoners and hundreds of staff, who the correctional officer may have infected.

"What we did is we reviewed that officer's movement on the compound via cameras for I think and eight day window, 10 day window, to see any individual that may have come in contact with that officer. We have had them isolate themselves," Dart said.

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said prosecutors have reviewed the cases of 1,200 jail prisoners who may not be a threat to public safety; county jail detainees awaiting trial that Cook County judge Leroy Martin, Jr. ruled should be treated on a case-by-case basis.

Since the coronavirus crisis started, the number of prisoners coming into the jail has been cut in half from the normal 100 per day to now about 50. But Sheriff Dart said the plan is if COVID-19 spreads through the jail, they will turn the jail boot camp into a hospital.
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