Jeffery Pendleton “was pronounced dead at the John H. Stroger Memorial Hospital at 9:49 pm Sunday night, April 5,” the Cook County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday.
The official cause of Pendleton’s death is to wait for an autopsy. Initial reports indicate he died of complications due to coronavirus, the Sheriff’s Office said. If that is confirmed, Pendleton will be the first person in the Cook County Department of Correction to die of a virus, the statement said.
He was hospitalized since March 30 after being tested positive for the virus.
The case is one of many being reviewed by Cook’s State Attorney’s Office and Public Defenders, who are looking for individuals who might be eligible for bond reduction hearings, the statement said.
As of Sunday, 220 prisoners tested positive and were being treated in prisons for mild to moderate symptoms, the statement said. Pendleton is one of 14 detainees who are treated and monitored in hospital.
“Prisons in this country are petri dishes. That is equivalent to a nursing home or a cruise ship,” said Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Council. “It’s very difficult in prison to maintain social distance.”
Cook County is one of the places that the White House coronavirus task force is worried about that is at risk of becoming another major hot spot.
Two deaths have been reported at Stateville prison, another outbreak site, Illinois Director of Public Health Dr. Ngozi Ezike told a news conference Sunday afternoon.
Sixty cases have been reported in prison, Ezike said.
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