24 detainees, 9 employees at Cook County Jail have contracted COVID-19: sheriff's office

The Cook County sheriff’s office on Thursday announced that 24 detainees have contracted COVID-19 at Cook County Jail.

That’s up from Wednesday, when 17 detainees had tested positive for the disease.

Additionally, nine employees of the sheriff’s office have tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement, the sheriff’s office said it has tested a total of 89 detainees for showing flu-like symptoms. So far, 24 have tested positive, 2 have tested negative, while 63 detainees have pending test results.

The first two cases of COVID-19 in detainees were announced Monday at the Southwest Side jail complex that currently houses about 5,400 detainees.

Meanwhile, the Cook County chief judge’s office on Thursday said a third employee has contracted the virus.

The employee works for the adult probation department on the lower level of the Leighton Criminal Court Building in the 2600 block of South California Avenue, according to an emailed statement from Pat Milhizer, spokesman for the Circuit Court of Cook County.

The employee last worked March 16 and reported not having symptoms before then, Milhizer said.

The first two employees of the court to test positive for the virus were announced Wednesday. One also works in the adult probation department, while other works in the office of the chief judge on the 23rd floor of the Daley Center. Both employees last reported to work March 13.

The Clerk of the Circuit Court on Wednesday announced that two employees had contracted the disease.

On Tuesday, prosecutors and defense attorneys began court-ordered bond reviews targeting low-risk detainees for release to trim the headcount at the jail to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.