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Cook County Jail officer who tested positive for virus dies

Cook County Jail officer who tested positive for virus dies

Virus Outbreak Jail Protest Illinois

Amid fears of the coronavirus pandemic, dozens of protesters drive around Cook County Jail and the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, honking their horns and chanting to demand the "mass release" of detainees at the jail, April 7.

CHICAGO — A second correctional officer at Cook County Jail who tested positive for the coronavirus has died, the sheriff's department announced Monday.

The sheriff's department, which operates the jail, said in a news release that 51-year-old Antoine Jones died Sunday. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death, but the sheriff's department said that the 18-year department veteran tested positive for the virus in late March.

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In April, Sheila River became the first correctional officer at the jail to die of complications of the virus. A third member of the department, Deputy Richard O'Brien, died earlier this month from complications of the virus. O'Brien was assigned to the Civil Process Division in Skokie.

The jail has been hard hit by the virus. Seven detainees who tested positive for the virus have died and as of late Sunday afternoon, 236 detainees were battling COVID-19. Another 291 who were no longer positive for the virus were being monitored at a recovery facility at the jail.

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A total of 89 correctional officers and 32 other sheriff's department employees are sick with the disease, while 275 other employees who tested positive have recovered and returned to work.

In late March, to slow the spread of the virus at the jail, a Cook County judge ordered expedited bail hearings in the hopes of reducing the jail population quickly. Since then, the population has dropped by more than 1,300, to just over 4,000. At the same time, a federal judge has ordered the jail to do more to ensure social distancing among its inmates.

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