Teamsters Local 700 has demanded proper personal protective equipment (PPE) gear for our members at the Cook County Department of Corrections (CCDOC) since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it looks like the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) agrees with us. In a bold move to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus, the IDPH has recommended that all jail facilities in the state should immediately implement a policy requiring ALL staff to wear a protective mask when working to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The IDPH states that universal masking policies will reduce the risk of transmission from staff and inmates who may have the virus but are otherwise asymptomatic. The recommendation for universal masking across jail facilities includes staff responsible for direct interaction or care involving detainees and staff who do not normally interact directly with patients and residents, such as administrative, dietary, environmental services, and facility maintenance staff.
“This recommendation is the exact leverage we were looking for to ensure that ALL of our members at the CCDOC are given the proper PPE while working,” said Teamsters Local 700 President Ramon D. Williams. “Every day there is new information circulating about COVID-19, but one thing is clear: face masks are one of the most critical pieces of PPE to safeguard against spreading the virus within close quarters. We will demand that the Sheriff adhere to this recommendation issued by the IDPH and Local 700 will continue to hold the CCDOC administration accountable for distributing the proper PPE gear to all officers at the jail.”