McHenry County Jail reports no COVID-19 cases as previously infected inmates complete quarantine period

Inmates who first tested positive were part of jail’s inmate worker program, performing jobs in the kitchen and laundry area

County officials are talking about not renewing the contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs to house detainees at the McHenry County jail.

Following a series of confirmed COVID-19 cases at the McHenry County Jail, the sheriff’s office reported zero positive cases as of Thursday.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Feb. 5 that 11 inmates had COVID-19. At that time, those detainees were had already begun a 10-day quarantine period and as of Monday, had been cleared by medical personnel, McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Creighton said.

Inmates who might have come in contact with the virus were similarly placed under quarantine “out of an abundance of caution,” Creighton said. Those same detainees have been tested and monitored for symptoms. They will again undergo testing Friday, which marks the end of their quarantine period, Creighton said.

The inmates who were first identified as COVID-19-positive on Jan. 28 were part of the jail’s inmate worker program, performing jobs in the kitchen and laundry area, Creighton said.

Once cases were confirmed, all inmate workers were placed on quarantine protocol, he said.

The sheriff’s office subsequently closed the jail kitchen for a day and sanitized the area while new inmate workers were trained and a food services management crew filled in to prepare meals, Creighton said.

“All of the incoming new inmate workers were tested prior to beginning this assignment and were never in contact with any of the original inmate workers,” Creighton said. “Contingency plans to prepare and distribute meals were made, however, it never had to go into effect.”

McHenry County Jail employees already have begun receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, although it’s unclear how many intend to receive it. Jail detainees also will be eligible to receive the vaccine once it is made available through the health department, Creighton said.