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Update on COVID-19 Cases at Cook County Jail

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 detainees who have been confirmed positive, the number confirmed negative, and the total number tested.

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

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

Of those:

  • 3 detainees 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 detainee has been in custody since October 2018 for residential burglary.
  • 1 detainee 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 detainees on the living units where these individuals were housed, and will test any detainees who are symptomatic.

The entire jail compound continues to undergo regular, comprehensive cleaning and disinfecting. All detainees 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 detainee visits, creating housing tiers for new inmates 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 inmate bootcamp program to be opened as additional isolation housing for detainees 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 detainees become ill with COVID-19.

For more information and updates on COVID-19, please check our website:


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