On Sunday afternoon, Teamsters Local 700 learned that a member at the Cook County Department of Corrections had tested positive for COVID-19. The officer is currently in self-quarantine at home.
“We are currently monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak among all of our members’ workplaces and the DOC is extremely vulnerable as we have seen in correctional facilities across the country,” said Teamsters Local 700 President Ramon D. Williams. “We have demanded that safeguards be put in place at the DOC to further protect our members from contracting COVID-19. We are pressing the administration to do everything they possibly can within the jail to help contain the spread of the virus.”
Local 700 has been consulting with Dr. Peter Orris, a nationally renowned professor of occupational and environmental medicine from the University of Illinois, to help guide the Local through the enormous challenges created by the pandemic. Dr. Orris has 40 years of experience in the field of public health and has assembled a remarkable team of health and safety professionals to address the complex issues of potential workplace exposures.
“Our members at the Cook County Department of Corrections face enormous health and safety challenges in the best of times, but the COVID-19 virus creates an unprecedented threat to the health of the men and women who are charged with the care, custody and control of the inmates and detainees in the nation’s largest county correctional facility,” said President Williams. “We are determined to secure the finest medical guidance to ensure that management is fulfilling its legal and moral obligation to protect our members. Our members are on the front line of this national emergency, and they deserve the respect, admiration and support of the administration and the community that they protect.”