In the evening on April 16, 2020, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received confirmation from the Lake County Health Department that a previously discharged inmate tested positive for novel coronavirus COVID-19. The inmate, a 28-year-old male of Des Plaines, was remanded to the Lake County Jail on February 27, 2020, and discharged on April 13, 2020, following a plea agreement.
Beginning April 8, 2020, the inmate complained of flu-like symptoms. He was seen several times by the jail’s medical provider and his mild symptoms stabilized. When the inmate was discharged on April 13, 2020, his temperature registered normal, and he didn’t have or report any sickness symptoms.
On April 15, 2020, the inmate checked into a Cook County hospital and was tested for COVID-19, the test came back positive. The inmate was discharged from the hospital shortly after receiving the test results.
A number of protocols have been enacted since February to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 entering the jail as well as enhanced mitigation procedures should inmates feel ill. Thus far, these mitigation procedures have been overall successful. These include:
• Enhanced medical screening for inmates and employees entering the jail
• Increased cleanings of jail pods
• Minimization of inmates moving from pod to pod
• Establishing a medical segregation area for inmates with mild illness symptoms
o Any inmate experiencing illness wears a mask while quarantined
• Worked with Courts & criminal justice partners to establish electronic bond hearings, versus in-person hearings
o Inmates who receive a recognizance bond at their initial hearing never enter the jail’s general population area
• Utilizing PPEs for all jail staff
• Utilized vacant housing pods to spread the distance between inmates
• All newly remanded inmates are housed out of general population for 14 days for medical evaluation before being moved to general population
There are ten other inmates who were housed in the same pod of the former inmate who tested positive. None of those inmates are currently experiencing any symptoms of illness, however, they are being closely monitored by medical staff.
Currently, there are three inmates housed in the medical unit. Two of those inmates were remanded to the jail on April 16, 2020, one of them has been diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and the other had a slightly elevated temperature. The other inmate was a previously housed inmate who complained of stomach pains. Those inmates are in good condition. No other current jail inmates are experiencing a fever or any other symptoms of illness. Per the guidelines of the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health, COVID-19 testing of asymptomatic individuals is not recommended.
If an inmate’s health begins to significantly decline, an inmate experiences a medical emergency, or their medical care is beyond the capabilities of the medical provider, the inmate would be immediately transported to an area hospital for treatment.
The Lake County Jail continues to follow all CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Lake County Health Department guidelines. The jail’s medical provider continues to work closely with the Lake County Health Department.