The Cook County Jail in Chicago, IL has become the nation’s new hotbed for the coronavirus, according to multiple reports. The jail received the distinction just a day prior to U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly ordering against a mass release of detainees. Kennelly ruled that medically vulnerable detainees will not be segregated from the rest of the population nor will the court require detainees be moved from a tier where someone infected with the virus already resides.
According to data released by Cook County Jail, 238 detainees tested positive for COVID-19 along with 115 jail employees making it the single-site with the most linked confirmed cases, with nearly 4,000 detainees untested.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said of the facility’s handling of COVID-19:
“People try to make a big story of just the numbers that we have here and you know at this point I’m really having a hard time dealing with the ignorance out there. I’ll give people a bit of a break because this changes so on and so forth. But the reality is we started testing before anybody else in the country did. So, would a five year old be able to figure out that our numbers will probably show quicker than other people? Of course they would. There are other states that aren’t testing anybody in their correctional facility, so they can say they have zero.”