More than 80 residents and staff at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center to be tested this week


Last updated 4/21/2020 at 10:22pm

To protect the health of residents and staff at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, healthcare professionals will test more than 80 residents in the facility’s general population this week.

So far, there have been no positive tests of COVID-19 in the JTDC general population. It is anticipated that there will be residents in the general population who test positive. When the test results are available, the number of positive tests will be made public. In addition, more tests may be conducted because residents will be tested if they had close contact with a resident who tests positive.

Under current protocol, all new JTDC admissions remain in an area separate from the general population for 14 days. All new admissions are tested for COVID-19. So far, three residents and seven employees have tested positive. The three residents had not been admitted to the general population by the time of their positive test. Residents selected for this week’s tests have either been randomly selected or they reside in an area where employees have worked before those employees tested positive and stopped reporting to work.

All residents who test positive will live in an area separate from others for 14 days or until cleared by medical staff. Medical care and mental-health care are provided at any time of day.

The 161 residents at the JTDC today is a decline from 210 on March 15. From March 16 through April 20, judges released 178 residents from the JTDC. In that same time period, 120 residents were admitted to the JTDC after arrest. In addition, judges have granted release to 10 of the 161 residents, but they remain in custody because they are awaiting residential placement by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

At the JTDC, surfaces in the facility are subject to routine cleanings and disinfection. Deep cleanings are also performed in areas as needed. Nancy B. Jefferson Alternative School is closed pursuant to the governor’s order. JTDC residents are learning via instructional packets provided by Chicago Public Schools. JTDC residents continue to participate in cognitive-behavioral therapy behavior management and exercise/recreation activities, and they may participate via video in programs that focus on music and artistic expression.

Family and special visits have been canceled, but residents are permitted to have videoconferences and phone calls with family members. Medical and mental health services continue to be provided. Juveniles appear in court remotely via video from the JTDC.

Social distancing is used during meals, schoolwork, television viewing, movement through the facility and outdoor recreation in the secure area whenever practicable. Staff are instructed to stay six feet from each other, and all employees are provided masks that they are required to wear during their time in the facility. Employees who work in areas with newly admitted residents are wearing N95 masks, eye protection, gloves and gowns. Employees exhibiting signs of illness are not permitted to work, and employees have been provided information regarding where, as first responders, they may receive COVID-19 tests. Anybody who seeks to enter the JTDC receives a temperature check and answers screening questions to indicate potential exposure to COVID-19. Those who do not successfully complete the screening are not permitted to enter.


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