MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018

Norovirus quarantines 700 inmates at Illinois prison

Recent cases of norovirus among several dozen prisoners at Cook County Jail in Illinois led to a quarantine in a division of the jail affecting 700 inmates, according to law enforcement officials.

The quarantine will confine the inmates in the medium and minimum security division to their cells and will restrict them from having visitors. The restrictions were put in place after inmates began getting sick on Monday, with between 30 and 40 inmates confirmed with the virus by Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Officials said that the quarantine will stay in place until further notice.

The jail will disinfect all living, toilet, dining, shower and other high touch surface areas during the quarantine. Linens were changed and are being washed separately.

The virus has also affected work programs involving the inmates inside and outside of the jail. Many inmates work in the kitchen of the jail but will not be allowed to do so until after the quarantine.

The jail may also be affected by financially by the virus because the facility may have to pay overtime for staff to fill in the gap to cover cleaning and food transportation responsibilities, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said his office is keeping a close eye on the outbreak to make sure it does not extend to staff and other inmates in different divisions.