Kane County jail on lockdown for COVID-19 cases

  • The Kane County jail has its first COVID-19 cases. It is on full lockdown until further notice.

    The Kane County jail has its first COVID-19 cases. It is on full lockdown until further notice. Daily Herald file photo

Updated 8/14/2020 2:52 PM

At least two detainees at the Kane County jail tested positive for COVID-19 this week, with four additional detainees showing symptoms of the virus, according to Sheriff Ron Hain.

The illnesses mark the first cases of the infection among detainees at the facility since the outbreak began spreading nationwide. The facility is on full lockdown until further notice.


Hain reported the positive cases in a prepared release Friday morning. Up to now, the facility has stood in contrast to other local jails that have struggled with the virus. The Cook County jail, in particular, early on saw a rampant spread of the virus and seven deaths, all before June 1. It currently has 15 cases among 4,952 inmates.

The outbreak in the Kane County jail began Tuesday when staff members discovered a detainee with an elevated temperature. However, a rapid COVID-19 test given to the male inmate came back negative. The detainee was moved to the jail's medical unit for further monitoring. The detainee's specific housing unit was placed on lockdown as a precaution. All inmates in the unit had their temperatures checked twice a day, the release said.

By Thursday, two more detainees in the housing unit showed elevated temperatures. Those two people, plus the detainee already being monitored, were tested for COVID-19, and two of the three tests came back positive, according to the release.

At that point, the medical staff checked every detainee in the facility for symptoms. They found three more detainees with elevated temperatures. Jail staff members moved to place the entire facility into lockdown to avoid additional spread of the virus.

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The Kane County Health Department and state health officials are working with the sheriff's office to test all detainees and employees, the release said. Prior to this week, two correctional officers and one medical employee had tested positive in early August and are in quarantine at home.

The lockdown means none of the 407 current detainees will attend court appointments until further notice. There is also no visitation. Inmates will have increased access to computer tablets instead. They will also have daily health checks and receive N-95 masks. The entire jail will receive a deep cleaning, including sanitization with ozone machines.

The facility will be on lockdown until COVID-19 test results for everyone who was possibly exposed are available.

"We are confident that we have done all we could to help keep the virus out of the jail for the past six months," Hain said in the release. "We always recognized that we would be naive to believe it would never make its way in."

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