Correctional officer, 2 inmates at Cook County Jail die from COVID-19; death of 2nd officer under investigation

Coronavirus
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CHICAGO — The coronavirus continues to make hundreds of people sick at the Cook County Jail.

At least seven people have died due to the outbreak inside the jail, including at least one corrections officer.

Sheila Rivera, 47, died Sunday at the Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago.

Rivera joined the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in 2012. Her brother said she got sick quickly, and by Sunday she had passed away.

The sheriff’s office said it considers her death to be in the line of duty and advocate that Rivera’s family receive benefits.

Friends and family have set up a GoFundMe page.

The Sheriff’s office is now dealing with it’s first employee death due to COVID-19, while questions remain around the death of a second corrections officer.

Antoine Stewart, was found dead in his Crestwood home on the same day as Rivera.

Stewart worked for the Cook County Jail as a corrections officer for more than 10 years.

He had congestive heart failure and was wearing a device that regulates his heartbeat, but he continued to work.

Stewart’s wife, Lakeshia, said he was tested for COVID-19 before Easter, and the results were negative.

Authorities said an autopsy will determine whether COVID-19 played a role in his death.

 The Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying in part:

We are saddened to report the death of Corrections Officer Antoine Stewart, who was found deceased at his home on Sunday. Crestwood Police are conducting a death investigation, but there were no indications of foul play, and we are awaiting the autopsy to determine whether COVID19 played a role in his death.

The sheriff’s office said peer support has also reached out to the family offering support during this time.

A total of 321 Cook County Sheriff’s employees have tested positive for the virus to date — with 185 being corrections officers. 109 have recovered and returned to work.

In addition, 398 Cook County jail detainees have tested positive for COVID-19, and six have died. The two latest deaths came over the weekend at Stroger Hospital. Those inmates have been identified as Juan Salgado Mendoza, 53, and Rene Olivo, 42.

183 inmates have now recovered from COVID-19.

Almost 85 percent of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office employees with the virus have been corrections officers.

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