Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy Tests Positive for COVID-19: CCBF’s Statement

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office has revealed that a deputy who works in the jail has tested positive for COVID-19. It is extra distressing that the deputy had been working in Cermak hospital and the jail’s Residential Treatment Unit, where he would have come in contact with the most vulnerable people. The Sheriff’s Office press release discusses contact with and precautions taken regarding other jail staff but does not provide any information about the deputy’s contact with incarcerated people.

It is more urgent than ever that we begin decarcerating the jail to protect the lives of everyone there and the public. The lack of action from our county officials is unacceptable. Unless thousands of people are released, the inevitable, exponential rise of COVID-19 infections in the jail will bring down the entire county’s health system. Deacarceration is required for social distancing. It is impossible to flatten the curve while maintaining mass criminalization and mass incarceration. Cook County officials will have blood on their hands for dragging their feet over the last two weeks or more, when this inevitability came to light.

It is now more important than ever that we continue to pressure Cook County’s Chief Judge Timothy Evans, Sheriff Tom Dart, and State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to act swiftly to release people from Cook County Jail to protect public health. Time is running out.

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