Chicago’s largest prison reports 450 inmates, staff positive for coronavirus – National

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Some 450 inmates and staff have tested positive for the new coronavirus in Chicago’s largest prison, county correctional officials said on Thursday, representing one of the largest respiratory disease outbreaks in the United States on only one site so far in the pandemic.

The influx of cases to Cook County jail marks the latest push for COVID-19 in prisons and jails in major cities across the country, where inmates often live in tight quarters.

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The situation caught the nation’s attention earlier this week when detainees displayed handmade signs asking for help in the windows of their cells on a public street.

“Sheriff’s officers and county health professionals are actively working around the clock to fight the unprecedented global coronavirus pandemic,” the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Thursday.

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These measures include the opening of a 500-bed “quarantine and care facility” for prisoners, an effort to move as many prisoners as possible from double cells to single cells, and the opening of a screening center in jail.

According to the sheriff’s department, “front line” staff were under fever control at the start of each shift and received protective equipment if they interacted with inmates.

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In Monroe, Washington, detainees from a minimum security prison vandalized the premises Wednesday evening during a demonstration after officials announced that six detainees had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Washington State Correctional Department.

National and local police and correctional officers suppressed unrest at the prison 24 miles (39 km) northeast of Seattle with pepper spray, hot bullets and rubber pellets, said correctional service.










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Despite evidence that the spread of the disease has slowed in the American population, a Reuters investigation has revealed that local prisons and holding cells have reported an accelerated spread of COVID-19 and have taken a varied approach to protect the detainees in their charge.

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Thousands of detainees are being released from detention, in some cases with little or no medical testing to determine if they may be infected with the coronavirus and are at risk of spreading to the community, Reuters said.

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US Attorney General William Barr said on Friday that the Federal Bureau of Prisons was facing emergency conditions that prompted the agency to start releasing more detainees out of and out of custody. ‘isolation.

A US judge has mandated Cook County Jail to test all inmates, suspend the use of small pens and begin distributing soap and disinfectant to inmates by Friday.

The prison has an infection rate of 50 per 1,000 people, far exceeding the countywide rate of 1.56 per 1000, said US district judge Matthew Kennelly.










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His order came in response to a lawsuit filed on April 3 on behalf of two detainees. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, who oversees the prison, is named a defendant.

Dart said the main reason many detainees tested positive was that the prison tested everyone with symptoms.

“I have done more testing than anyone,” he said.

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One inmate died of complications from the virus this week.

– With files from the Associated Press

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