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Cook County Suspends Jail Visits, Court-Ordered Evictions Amid Coronavirus Concerns

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Court-ordered evictions and visits for jail detainees have been suspended in Cook County amid growing coronavirus concerns.

Social visits to detainees at the Cook County Department of Corrections will be suspended until further notice beginning Sunday, according to Sheriff Thomas J. Dart.

There are currently no known cases of COVID-19 in the Department of Corrections. The decision was made based on recommendations from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Justice and other officials.

Attorneys and clergy members will be able to visit detainees but will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

Staff members are working to increase opportunities for detainees to communicate with loved ones by phone, according to a release from the sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office has also suspended all court-ordered evictions for the next 30 days, the sheriff's department said. This comes as a response to an order from the Office of the Chief Judge issued Friday evening. Previously people where evictions were being executed were screened for coronavirus symptoms.

Earlier this week, Sheriff's Deputies encountered a man during an eviction who showed symptoms of the virus. Deputies had the man transported to a local hospital for evaluation. The eviction was then cancelled.

The sheriff's office is also suspending the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program for 30 days in response to the order from the chief judge. Before this, SWAP participants were being screened for symptoms of the virus.


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