2 inmates at Will County jail had COVID-19 since outbreak: sheriff's office

14 correctional, lay staff have been treated for the virus to date

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Since the COVID-19 outbreak, two people were booked into the Will County jail with the virus and 14 staff members have been treated for it to date, the county sheriff’s office said.

On Wednesday, sheriff spokeswoman Kathy Hoffmeyer said there have been two people who were booked into the jail who had COVID-19. The jail is located in Joliet.

“They were booked in on non-bondable offenses and were held in negative airflow cells until which time they were given bond and released,” Hoffmeyer said.

Hoffmeyer said 14 staff members from the detention facility have been treated for COVID-19 to date and that number includes both correctional and lay staff. She said she didn’t know the details of each of those 14 cases but she knew several of those staff members contracted the virus from outside the jail.

Only inmates who cannot bond out of jail and are symptomatic are held in negative airflow cells in the jail’s medical unit, she said.

Arrestees brought to the jail who pass the required medical intake examination are placed into an area within the facility for a 14-day quarantine before they are moved to other areas, according to Hoffmeyer.

As of Wednesday, there were 612 inmates at the jail, Hoffmeyer said.

The World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. Two days later, U.S. President Donald Trump proclaimed the outbreak of the virus a national emergency.

In March, the medical staff at the jail performed additional screening of new inmates by asking them questions regarding any travel outside the country or if they have symptoms associated with coronavirus, officials said. Visitation with inmates was restricted to video only.

In April, the sheriff's office announced a Will County deputy in the gang suppression unit and an administrative nurse with the jail's medical provider tested positive for coronavirus.

The nurse works for Wellpath, the medical provider for the jail, and she had no significant contact with the jail staff or inmates, officials said.