3rd employee of Cook County Jail system tests positive for COVID-19

Two women walk toward a visitor's entrance of a maximum security detention area of the Cook County jail in Chicago, Illinois. ( Scott Olson/Getty Images )

A third employee of the Cook County Jail has contracted COVID-19, officials announced Thursday.

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 circuit court is working to identify everyone who had contact with the employee, Milhizer said. Deep cleanings have been requested for the employee’s workspace.

The first two employees of the court to test positive for the virus were announced Wednesday. One also works in the adult probation department. The 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.

So far, 17 detainees at Cook County Jail have contracted COVID-19, the Cook County sheriff’s office said Wednesday. The sheriff’s office said it would release updated numbers later Thursday.

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.

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.

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