16-year-old detainee tests positive for COVID-19 at Cook County juvenile detention center

The teen was admitted to the jail March 30 and has not been exposed to the general population.

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One court employee and one resident at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center tested positive for COVID-19, officials announced Jan. 8.

A detainee has contracted COVID-19 at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, 1100 S. Hamilton Ave.

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A 16-year-old detainee of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Centerhascontracted COVID-19— the first resident of the jail to test positive for the disease.

The teen was admitted to the jail March 30 and has not beenexposedto the general population, according to a statement from Pat Milhizer, the Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

The detainee was quarantined with new residents per a policy that separated admissions for 14 days from the general population, Milhizer said.

The teen had a fever and headache Saturday, and was moved to the jail’s medical unit, Milhizer said. The resident was tested for COVID-19 Sunday and the test results came back Monday, he said. The detainee is now fever-free and recovering under the supervision of medical staff until April 18.

Six other residents who had contact with the detainee will be tested for COVID-19 and will not be admitted to the general population until April 18 at the earliest, he said.

The other new admissions of the jail will be moved to another area while the previous space for new admissions undergoes a deep cleaning, Milhizer said.

Also Monday, theOffice of the Chief Judge announced that two more employees tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total in the office to 11.

One employee works for Juvenile Probation and Court Services at the Juvenile Center and last reported for work on March 23, Milhizer said. The other employee works at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and had no contact with any juvenile residents. That employeelast reported for work March 19.

The announcements come the same day advocates sent a public a letter to Chief Judge Evans and others calling on the swift release of detainees at the juvenile center.

“We recommend that you prioritize general public health and safety and the physical and mental health of detained youth, reviewing each young person for any possible release options that can reduce traumatic stress and risk of disease,” according to the letter, signed by dozens of community groups including the Chicago Urban League and Civitas ChildLaw Center at the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.

“In particular, we request that you immediately grant the release of all youth who both the Office of the State’s Attorney and Public Defender have evaluated and determined can be safely returned home,” the letter states.

Throughout March, judges released 190 juveniles from the detention center, lowering the number of residents to 168 today, Milhizer said. By comparison, there were 210 residents March 15.

At Cook County Jail, the detainee population on Monday was at 4,567 — a drop of more than 1,000 from a month ago. More than 230 detainees and almost 80 jail staff have tested positive for COVID-19 since the first cases were announced two weeks ago.

Sheriff Tom Dart was sued Monday by attorneys and civil rights advocates seeking to remove hundreds more detainees.

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