Stomach flu outbreak quarantines Cook County Jail

Stomach flu outbreak quarantines Cook County Jail

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A quarantine has been ordered at Division II of the Cook County Jail after detainees have come down with the stomach flu.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart ordered the quarantine, which will remain in place until further notice, a release Wednesday morning from his office said. Detainees housed in the affected unit are under limited movement, and visitation is not allowed.

The division's living, dining, shower, toilet, and all high touch surface areas are being disinfected, the sheriff's office said. Linens have been changed and are being laundered separately.

The quarantine will affect work programs both inside and outside of the jail, the sheriff's office said. Many of the detainees in the affected unit participate in work programs within the jail and outside of the jail. Many of these affected detainees work in the jail's kitchen and assist in transporting meals. But, because of the quarantine, they will not be able to participate in those programs. Additional staff may be needed to cover food transportation and cleaning responsibilities if the outbreak continues to other divisions.

Division II staff are being closely monitored to ensure exposure to affected detainees is limited, according to the sheriff's office. Other concerns include preparing for an outbreak within staff and adding detainees to an already crowded jail. The sheriff's office says that both of these concerns have potential to add overtime costs, and because of these concerns, additional measures are being taken at the jail to prevent the virus from spreading further.

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