COOK COUNTY, IL – As the city of Chicago continues to battle a second wave of COVID-19 cases, the Sheriff’s Office has partnered with The Loretto Hospital to provide weekly testing for employees, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced earlier this week.
Increased testing for Sheriff’s employees is happening even as access to testing has become an obstacle for employers. According to a recent survey by Arizona State University and the World Economic Forum, only about 17% of employers, out of over 1,100 companies surveyed, were providing testing for employees. Due to many of our staff being essential workers, we felt it was imperative that we join this small number of employers and find a way to overcome these obstacles and provide this testing for the safety of our staff.
“We are doing all we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 inside the walls of the jail and protect our staff,” Sheriff Dart said. “This added testing capacity will help us to identify and block the virus from entering the jail from the outside while also protecting the officers and the communities in which they live.”
COVID-19 testing started with The Loretto Hospital on Monday, November 16, and will be conducted at Cook County Jail through morning and afternoon sessions each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with 40-100 employees tested each day. COVID-19 PCR nasal swabs will be used with results expected in about 2 days.
“We are dedicated to improving the health landscape of a community disproportionately impacted by this pandemic and other critical health and societal issues,” said George N. Miller, Jr., President and CEO of The Loretto Hospital. “Since opening the first COVID-19 testing facility on Chicago’s West side in April, we have conducted more than 17,250 tests for residents of the Austin neighborhood and surrounding communities, regardless of symptoms, exposure, medical history, or insurance status. We are honored and grateful for the opportunity to expand our mission to include the dedicated employees of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.”
The Sheriff’s Office also continues to partner with The New Roseland Hospital for onsite testing available to staff twice a week.