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2 Cook County Jail Detainees Test Positive For Coronavirus

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Two detainees at the Cook County Jail tested positive for coronavirus Monday, the county Sheriff's office announced.

The detainees were being held in isolation at Cermak Health Services adjacent to the jail, where they have been housed since they first started exhibiting flulike symptoms on Friday.

One of the detainees is a 42-year-old man who has been in custody since late December 2019, when he was ordered held in lieu of $250,000 bond on charges of aggravated driving under the influence. He was being housed in the Residential Treatment Unit when he became symptomatic, the sheriff's office said.

The second detainee is an 18-year-old man who has been in custody since mid-February when he was ordered held without bail on charges of aggravated discharge of a firearm. He was being held in Division VI of the jail at the time he became symptomatic, the sheriff's office said.

Cermak staff are testing anyone with flulike symptoms and are closely monitoring the detainees in the living units where the men who tested positive were housed.

The sheriff's office also noted the entire jail complex undergoes regular and comprehensive disinfecting, and all inmates have access to soap and water and know how to spot the virus.

On Sunday, the sheriff's office announced a Cook County correctional officer who works at Cermak Health Services had tested positive for the virus.

As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported, all of this is coming while we are hearing about legal efforts to reduce the population in the jail.

The Cook County Public Defender filed an emergency motion last week requesting that certain inmates be released. That group includes the elderly, those with health conditions, inmates locked up because they can't afford their bonds, or are charged with low-level, non-violent felony and misdemeanor crimes.

The public defender believes there are being 1,000 and 2,000 detainees who would fall under that those categories.

That is out of a total population of about 5,600.

On Monday, a Cook County Judge said each case will have to be reviewed individually. He did not approve any kind of sweeping order that would release the all at once.

But one inmate who did benefit was serial stowaway Marilyn Hartman. She received an I-bond on Friday after being ordered held without bond on a charge of violating her probation.

Hartman most recently had been arrested at O'Hare International Airport, despite being prohibited from going to O'Hare or Midway international airports without a boarding pass, and was charged with criminal trespass.

She had been sentenced to 18 months' probation back in March after attempting to board a plane from Chicago to London without a ticket.

Hartman was assaulted in jail earlier this month.

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