Cook County Jail guard dies of COVID-19

The Cook County Department of Corrections (CCDOC), housing one of the nation's largest jails, is seen in Chicago, Illinois, on April 9, 2020. - The jail has seen a rise in coronavirus cases after two inmates tested positive on March 23. (Photo by KAM

A correctional officer at the Cook County Jail has died of the coronavirus.

Sheila Rivera, 47, is possibly the first correctional officer at the jail to die of the disease, according to a statement from the Cook County sheriff’s office.

Rivera died Sunday evening at Resurrection Medical Center, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Rivera had worked as a corrections officer since 2012, and was most recently assigned to the Residential Treatment Unit, the sheriff’s office said.

“Our hearts are broken over the loss of Officer Rivera, and we send our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones,” the sheriff’s office said.

Her death is considered “in the line of duty,” allowing her family certain benefits.

“Correctional staff like Officer Rivera are unsung heroes in the battle against this global pandemic, bravely working to keep their fellow colleagues, detainees, and the public safe from COVID-19. We will continue to confront this insidious and unrelenting disease,” the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office has so far reported 191 corrections officers who tested positive for COVID-19, and 215 detainees are currently positive, including 21 who are at area hospitals. Another 180 inmates who tested positive have been moved to a recovery area within the jail.